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Dear Chump Lady, Do you think stress made him cheat?

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pityDear Chump Lady,

Am hoping you will be able to help me. I will try and be brief with my background information. My husband and I have been married 5 years and have 3 children (5, 2, and 8 months). I began to suspect he was cheating on me in 2012 and after some investigation (phone records, match.com profile, hotel bookings), I found out I was right. In April 2014, he finally admitted he had slept with someone. In the aftermath of his admission he said sorry but wasn’t truly remorseful and he continued contact with this OW, coming and going as he pleased.

I asked him to move out which he did in June 2014. I gave birth to our third child in July 2014. I continued snooping on him and think he has continued some sort of contact with the OW, his answers are always vague, and I am pretty sure he has given me a fake name to throw me off scent of who she is. He says he is sorry and wants to stay married, but he is not actually doing anything to show this.

In December 2013 his company went bust as he had some debt and he had to start a new company from scratch and the stress of this affected him and all of us. He says he is still suffering the effects of this which is why he doesn’t know what to do to save our marriage. He says he is mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted and doesn’t know what to say to me anymore. Even though I made it quite simple — I just wanted the truth! But he has concocted a story based on what he thinks I know and he is sticking to it. For example he still will not admit to the match.com profile even though I saw it with my own eyes!

Now I know your stance on reconciliation, but just wanted to get your thoughts on this situation. Could stress be a real factor in my husband behaviour or is it just an excuse?

Thanks in advance,

Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

You know what’s stressful? Being 6 months pregnant with two preschoolers and discovering your husband has cheated on you. Gee, you know what’s also stressful? Being financially vulnerable to a guy whose business just tanked. Oh, and his answer to failed self-employment is MORE self employment. Splendid. So tell me, Just Wondering — where’s your dating profile? What hotels are you booking for covert fuckfests?

Oh, that’s right. You’re probably at home changing diapers, washing vomit from your hair, and picking Goldfish crackers out of the carpet fibers. So often life with three preschoolers is confused with spa resorts. (Hot stone Hemlich manuevers, Lego exfoliating, Ayurvedic Chicken Nuggets…) You don’t need escapism because your life is so care-free! Three babies in five years? Who wouldn’t thrill to that kind of relaxation?

JW, what the fuck does your husband think your life is? Seriously, you caught him cheating on you through at least TWO pregnancies and his best line of defense is how stressful HIS life is? Are your recent episiotomy scars so disabling that you can’t stand up and slap him?

Now I know your stance on reconciliation, but just wanted to get your thoughts on this situation.

My thoughts… hmmm… my thoughts…

Divorce him.

I’m not saying that because of “my stance on reconciliation,” I’m saying that because of my stance on reality. You don’t have anything to work with. 

According to you he’s not doing anything to save the marriage, you live apart, and he continues to gaslight you. (Dating profile? What dating profile?) What exactly here do you think you have to work with?

Why doesn’t he want a divorce? My guess is it isn’t his love and commitment to you and the kids — it’s because divorce equals consequences. He’ll have to pay child support on three kids, (that will cut in on the Match.com fees and hotel expenses). That means he’d have to date openly as a divorced dude with three kids and child support payments. That’s going to make finding a new chump that much harder. (Unless the OW is willing, these idiots often are.)

Let me just segue here to say the OW isn’t special. She could be anyone. So don’t let competition with her fog your thinking. Your husband was advertising for a mistress vacancy. He wanted to cheat and she fit the bill. Not saying she isn’t reprehensible, I’m saying right now she’s besides the point. Your problem is this creep you’re still married to.

Redirect your focus from what parts of his story don’t add up, to taking back your power. Lawyer up (don’t tell him) and start calling the shots. I commend you for throwing him out, but this limbo you’re in has given him time to fuck you over further. I promise you he’s not spending his nights at home reading “Just Friends,” — he’s living the single life. At your expense.

You’re already a single mother of three. Why not do that with full legal protections and supports in place?

You think reconciliation is an attractive option? He just told you he is “mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted.”  Poor sausage. How dare you place further demands on him! He just doesn’t have any head room for this reconciliation business! So stop with the questions — or he’ll get STRESSED. And you know what he does when he gets stressed! He cheats!

This Poor Me shit is really a threat, JW. Rug sweep and take him back, no questions, no consequences… or he’ll fall apart. And cheat. But oh hey, he was already cheating, so clearly your pleasing him and trying harder is the only thing that can save this! Just don’t ask for the truth. That’s hard on him.

That kind of injustice and high rope act (one false step and IT’s YOUR FAULT!) could really stress a chump out. And yet you’re there raising three kids alone and not cheating on him. Huh.

What distinguishes you from him? Character. You’ve got it, he doesn’t. Please step away from this jerk. There’s nothing here to save. I’m sorry.

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Ask Chump Lady

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  • Great advise chump lady.
    Gosh I wish I’d found this site when my ex of 25 years was cheating with his ex gf from 20 years ago!! His soulmate!!! Barf!

    • Ditto with the site! The ex’s sound the same. Not an ounce of original thinking at all with any of these cheaters and the AP. Such losers!!!!

  • This was my story…..

    This Poor Me shit is really a threat, JW. Rug sweep and take him back, no questions, no consequences… or he’ll fall apart. And cheat. But oh hey, he was already cheating, so clearly your pleasing him and trying harder is the only thing that can save this! Just don’t ask for the truth. That’s hard on him.

    But I didn’t take mine back. In the beginning when he thought I would chow down on the shit sandwich while buckling up my dancing shoes. He claimed his cheating had nothing to do with me, He was just curious. But constantly sidestepped any request I made for details, claiming to not remember or that it was all in his past and my asking questions was just my wanting to hurt him by bringing it up.

    Now 16 months past d’day and the details don’t matter. My divorce has been final since the beginning of the month and the less I care about him and his lies the freer and happier I feel.
    My XH’s consequences are yet to catch up with him. He is one of those no remorse, self justified Jesus cheaters. But wether I live to see it or not I trust one day it will happen.

    Hang in there JW you are clearly a strong woman who is mighty I hope you are reminded of that throught the posts that are shared on this thread.

  • Just Wondering,
    That man is an ass. Normal people can handle stress without cheating.
    Cheating is a decision. It causes some serious pain.
    Reality is better than fantasy. Truth has reliable consequences. Liars, cheaters and abusers are destructive. This is unacceptable. Eventually, consequences pile up, maybe not today. Maybe in fifteen years. Don’t let him destroy you.
    Xoxo

  • Just wondering,

    You know, if you asked me to write the profile of a fictional character who was The Worst Husband In the World Who Didn’t Beat His Wife, it would be EXACTLY your description of your spouse. Horrible in every aspect. Cheating, gas-lighting, self-pitying, absent, unemployed. “Nothing to work with” is a kind euphemism, in my book. Burdensome asshole is closer to the mark.

    To be perfectly blunt, you’ve dug yourself a hole by having three kids with this human pleghm-wad. Put. Down. The. Shovel. And hire a lawyer. You have a difficult journey ahead of you, but it will be MUCH easier without this dickweed undercutting you every step of the way. Chump Nation feels your pain and is rooting for you.

    • I echo all of what nomar says! It’s going to be tough but you’ve already been doing it alone. It’ll be harder with a parasite attached to you and draining the life from you.

    • I agree with Nomar and TBJ. I also had 3 kids in 5 years, but mine were older on D-day (10, 8, and 5). Like you, I’d been raising them by myself for 5 years at that point, after XH lost interest in being a parent. He was far too fabulous to be bothered with bathing babies, changing diapers, or reading stories, so that all fell to me – along with running the house and running my business. When he finally moved out, my workload went down. The only thing I really missed about him was his paycheck.

      Yes, it’s hard. But you know what’s harder? Being married and a single parent, wondering what your lying, cheating husband is up to all the time. Take away that part and your life becomes so much simpler. You can do it!

      • You are Mighty, Red! Best Wishes to Chumps everywhere who have moved forward and given themselves a REAL shot at happiness.

      • Red – I’ve been feeling this for a L O N G time, but was somewhat afraid to admit it to myself. But yes, like you, was alone raising our two kids for 20 years before I found out that the fucker blew-up our family. Really, he had been doing it for 17+ years, getting his emotional (& likely physical kibbles) from any whore who’d screw around with a married whore like himself.

        THE ONLY thing I miss is that second paycheck. NOTHING else.

    • Just wondering,

      I echo the wisdom. You’ve been the only grownup for so very long. LIfe will only get better without this pathetic parasite. Believe you can do this – you already have in many ways. I had 2 preschoolers when exH left – he was a Peter Pan type too; life was haaaaard, he was stressssssed…..blah, blah. After the first two months of mind numbing pain, the fog lifted and just like Chump Lady says; you get your life back. And there can be peace and calm and dignity again because you are all those things to your little ones already. Hugs and prayers for you. It isn’t easy, but your kids need you be the strong, sane parent here.

    • The “Match.com” page is a dead giveaway. I suppose someone could just make a random mistake with a colleague or acquaintance. But posting on a dating site is pretty much advertising that he will be a serial cheater.

  • Just Wondering,

    Chump lady is spot on with this one like always. I’m so very sorry you are having to deal with such a piece of shit like him. NOTHING can make him cheat. It’s a choice. We all have free will and this is choice NOT a mistake. “Stress” didn’t put a gun to his head and log into Match.com and get these hotel rooms and blah, blah with the OW.

    Take all the proof you have and get to a attorney ASAP and yes please please don’t tell him. He is showing you who is really is and you are there tending to your 3 very young kids and he is not doing a damn thing. Oh yes he is what did you write “mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted” please he is just another NPD loser that just wants to do what he CHOOSES to do that is all he is nothing special. Take control of your life and get things sorted to see an attorney. This ow is nothing special also.

    One big question and I hope you get mad as hell with this is how in the hell can he afford hotel rooms with a business going down hill and 3 kids at home that need food, clothing, diapers and such? Raising 3 very young kids is not cheap and I know hotel rooms also are not cheap. That would really piss me off. That you need to speak to your attorney about and get that money back.

    The ex in my life is remarried to the OW and she isn’t a pretty thing at all; in fact, she looks like a Mimi from The Drew Carey Show but with beaver teeth. Butt ass ugly!!!!! I’m sorry to place beavers in that category.

    Anyway please please listen to Chump Lady and others that will post on here. We have been in your shoes and yes it will be hard but just like Chump Lady wrote you are already single just get the paperwork sorted that’s really all you have to do. Plus the earlier you do this the earlier you can live the life you want on your terms and not have this fog of a life you are in now.

    Also ask yourself if this was one of your kids in your spot what would you want them to do? What kind of life would you want them to have? You have 4 very important reasons to end this and first and for most is for yourself and your own sanity and also for your 3 wonderful kids. Your kids shouldn’t have this type of environment with the dad that is already checked out of their lives and your life also. It’s not the end of the world but just the beginning of a new world a better world and most of all the amount of peace you will have when all this paperwork is done.

    Sending you big *hugs* and we are here for you.

    • She looks like Mimi from the Drew Carry show? That made me laugh, I haven’t seen that show in so long.

      Why do they cheat down? No offense meant to Mimi, but it’s curious to me that they do that.

      • Commentary about ow/om physical appearance bother me in general.. but I know it is one thing that people tend to focus on, at least right after dday.. “She/he’s not even as good looking as me!!!” Etc.

        My theory on this is that cheaters cheat down so that they get MOAR kibbles. Nothing more, nothing less. Cheaters simply want their ego fed. If you’re dating someone who isn’t doing as well as you in the looks dept (or financial, educational, social, etc), chances are high that they’re going to be more impressed with your level of money, friends, appearance, etc. It’s not the logic that people with character work with when finding a mate – but as much as I’ve gotten to know about cheater-mind, this is why they date down. More ego strokes!

        • My ex cheated on me with a subordinate. He is (or was I have no clue) very successful, handsome & charming. I’m sure his low-hanging piece fruit was starry-eyed & maybe $$ hungry. I never met her put other employees said she is quite a piece of work.

        • UnderConstruction, Maybe you are on to something.

          I’m not saying I’m the best thing out there but I do have my formal education and was working on my PhD (never guess it with me being the Queen of typos here ha, ha!!!) when he left. I try to take care of my health and I exercise and better fix. I never in my life think I’m better than anyone else. I treat everyone as I want to be treated with kindness and understanding and love. No way would I as a woman treat another woman like this.

          When I read what so many of us chumps have experienced with these disordered people my heart breaks and I see so many things what I experienced with the ex in what others have experienced. Now I’m having even more questions and I think to myself that is him when I read these post on chumplady.com.

          I know the last few years of being with the ex I would get up ever morning and just think to myself I don’t think it will last because I didn’t see anything changing with him. I tried everything I could think of to try to save the marriage. Nothing worked at all. There was this thing in him that wasn’t there anymore and now what I have learned it never was there it was a lie. I didn’t understand at that time that he has NPD and it was getting worse and worse. His mood swings were one extreme to another. One day I was the love of his life and he was so happy and then that evening the same day I was the most evil thing on this planet. All I did was wash the dishes or I was studying or on the phone with a friend or classmate or coworker or family. Yes, that is some examples when he would just go mental on me. Yes, there was mental abuse and sadly there was physical abuse. There is so many things that I’m remembering now that I forgotten over the years. Maybe that is what it was I was so busy with my life and I was really getting just tired of “babysitting” a grown man almost 40 years old at the time that he needed someone new and shiny and yes younger that he can “groom” and mode the way he wanted. Someone that would agree with everything that he says and does. I really never did that. I guess he wanted someone so young that he could control? Maybe that is what he wanted?

        • Beth, my first x was like that and it was hell. You are free now. Thank goodness. Now you know who to avoid.

          Under construction, I do not like it when people make fun of other people about their looks. It’s mean and most of the time, nobody chooses what they look like.

          I suffered a lot trying to understand why he didn’t love me, or why he wanted other women. One of the reasons I came up with was I am not hot enough. My x and men in general seem to care a lot about what the guys think about their mates. If you have a hot girlfriend, the guys give you more respect.

          I am a pretty woman. Not trying to be a narcissist, I just think I am not horrible to look at, and I have had people tell me that. He always seemed happier with me when the people we were social with liked me. So, I spent some time obsessing on how to become more attractive. The pick me dance performed for a bigger audience.

          I was so relieved when I found facebook pictures of the two women I know he slept with. I am not trying to be mean, but neither one is more attractive to me. Judging from the vernacular on the voicemails and the slutty type posts, I’d venture to say neither one is smarter than me either. They both do drugs, it dumbs you down.

          So it gives me relief for two reasons. He lost something good for something slutty and unattractive. Two it wasn’t about me not being good enough.

          • Oh hell, my ex’s ow Facebook profile pic? Looked like a clown did her makeup. That’s the honest truth. And a big girl. I couldn’t believe it and relieved at the same time.

          • Jen
            I have to comment on your statement ‘ I dont like when people make fun of other people…. Its mean … ”
            Seriously? Did you think because you chose the words ” unattractive” and “slutty ” that it was any less ” mean”
            You judged just like most of us here. You said you were ” relieved” when you found FB pictures that validated you were more attractive.
            Now you can chose your language… And feel that you take the high road. Its just language. The bottom line is you felt the same relief that most of felt when we discovered the AP was slightly retarded 300 pound Marilyn Manson look a like.
            So forgive us less evolved individuals who get a chuckle and some twisted relief from taking the AP down just a little by using foul language and describing them as the foul creatures that they are. My internal thesarus can find at least ten different words for ” unattractive” …… I chose to use the Urban dictionary instead.

            • Oh… And you know whats “mean?” Mean is fucking someone elses husband or wife. Thats mean. Me calling them a dirty motherfucker…that aint mean… Thats the truth

              • The Clip, that comment wasn’t directed at you. I was responding to Under Constructions comment.

                I do not like making fun of people based on looks in general, not specifically affair partners. I also didn’t say I’ve never done it, I just think it is mean when it’s unprovoked. I taught special education. Occasionally my students were picked on for looking different. They did nothing to invite those comments. Affair partners have behaved in ways that invite ridicule. That’s why I thought the Mimi joke was funny. If Beth had been referring to a random person, it wouldn’t have been, but because it’s the person her husband left her for, it was funny.

                I really don’t like it when people call other people retarded and mean it in an insulting manner. Not even affair partners. I don’t even like the fucktard references. I taught some great kids who qualified for a mental retardation label of one kind or another. My son has high functioning autism.

                I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I was questioning my own reaction to the relief I felt when I realized the women he was sleeping with were not Miss America contestants. And yes I called them slutty, that was a comment on their behavior not their looks or the way they dressed.

            • In Jen’s defense, I was the one who started that ball rolling, so I’ll explain why..
              When people focus on physical appearance it takes away from the real reason that cheaters and ow/om suck. It also strikes a nerve with me because it relates to the whole concept of rape being A-OK if a woman was scantily dressed. “Well, wife DID kind of let herself go, so who can blame the poor guy for cheating??!” It’s a f-ed up belief in modern culture and I’m tired of that. Besides all of that, people like George Clooney get cheated on.. so, looks have zip to do with any of it. Cheating is about shitty character, not looks.

              And then we’re back to what you said, TheClip, about getting relief from knocking the ow/om down. Go for it if it helps you feel better. I said what I said NOT in defense of ow/om. Anyone reading here knows that I have a guard dog reaction to ow/om who even try to post here. I don’t feel great about that but I have zero respect for anyone who can get off on being with someone else’s partner. I hold them 50% responsible for the affair. Anyway, hope that explains a little about why I brought that into the conversation..

              • UnderConstruction/ Jen
                Think you both missed my point. Jen , you state its mean to call people names or attack the way that they look…yet you did that… U just happened to use kinder language. It stilled judged and you still focused on the fact thatbyou were more attractive. My point is being judgy with a potty mouth… vs … being judgy with a higher venacular… Its still calling names.
                My daughter is a” special” child she has a very rare condition. So I get your position on the word ” retard” however its use has gone in and out of fashion in the medical world. Now I believe there are even commercial stating the word ” retarded” is as offensive as the “N” word. Dont necessarily agree.
                Calling people names… Politely or not is still calling people names. Attacking a child who has been born with altered genetics… Thats cruel. Calling an adult who willing pariticipated in a heinous act… Pretty justified. And some do act retarded… In the sense that the have very little to work with and seemingly function on a very basic level …. Lets say parasitic … with poor morals and character. Lets not forget these are grown ass people.
                UC – do I feel better cutting down the AP… well after they assisted in the familicide of my life…yes, I do. Do I attack her looks? Nope… Never seen her. I could be 2 feet away from her and not know its her. Would I feel better knowing that I was more attractive… Smarter… Maybe. Maybe I need to feel better about some part of it all. About myself. And its easy to say… I m good… I m over it… No need to dwell. But I think thats why a lot of us are here. Cause we are still trying to make sense of the tornado that ripped apart our lives.
                i wont apologize for my use of the words fucktard, whore bag, dog fucker, and countless other gems of profanity. Its just where I am at these days in my healing. I wont feel bad about it either. I know I am not alone.

              • I didn’t ask you to apologize nor did I ask anyone to do so. I was pointing at my own delima of not liking name calling yet finding the Mimi joke funny. I was calling myself out, so there was no need for you to do so as well.

                As far as the retard thing, if you have a special child and still use that word, think about that. I have a lot of patience for people who have no frame of reference using that word. In that case I realize it’s just slang. If you have some experience, and you use it, seek help.

                The name calling thing. I do not think I’m better, I have been known to vent. I have no problem with you or anyone else here venting. The thing is. When you let it go too far, you don’t actually feel better do you? Not that they don’t deserve it mind you, it’s that you are letting them win.

        • Jen, my experience with X cheating was that he thought he deserved better, entitlement, and pure selfishness. He kept track of things that bothered him and then raged about them years later. Later on I think it was more about his insecurities, lack of achievement, and character disorder. I helped him get his business and he was always unhappy with where he was in life because of his poor skills, lack of motivation, and addictions. As far as the OW I believe he traded so far down because he has NO substance. He’s an aging, shriveled dick, narcissist with out morals. Decent women wouldn’t find anything attractive about him.

          • Is there also a little bit of rebelling? Like doing something you’re not allowed to do behind your mothers back? Of course I don’t want to be his mother, but he is a spoiled only child, and I think he put me in that role sometimes.

              • I have never understood the phrase, “have your cake and eat it too.” That’s physically impossible. Call me Sheldon, but I just don’t get it.

                Think it was a lot of things. It was:
                1. Connected to drugs, which are a way to relieve the stress of imagined injustice.
                2. A way to one up me.
                3. Proof he is an Alpha Dog.
                4. Addiction, a weird beast I do not believe is the same as narcissism.
                5. The high of getting away with something bad.
                6. Over time, a connection to the one he saw regularly. I hate to admitt it, but she was around too often to deny it.

            • Jen

              I have read pretty much every post and comment on this website and quite a bit on the internet in general, and these things can be best be summarized as spoiled little brats.

              I know I let my ex-wife get away with WAY too much shit.

              I guess many of us have to look at why we filled a parenting role for a supposed adult and fix it.

              Also, you refer to yourself as an attractive person and apologize and bring it down before that statement.

              I would venture to say that is part of the problem for many of us: we cannot make a statement of a good quality about ourselves without qualifying it to please the world so as not to appear narcissistic or arrogant or whatever.

              I believe we need to approach a point where we can simply say: “I am an attractive person,” and leave it at that.

              • Thanks Tony, that made a lot of sense. I too am reading all the comments. It’s cheaper than going to therapy, and my job is not stimulating enough to keep my mind off of what happened. It seems I’m going to hash this thing to death before I can move on.

        • Oh dear so I was probably a downgrade as well as totally chumped. To think I came on here to be cheered up! :0)

      • Hi Jen and yes she looks like Mimi on The Drew Carry show. From what I know she doesn’t have any formal education and works still in retail. Now get this she is about 18 to 19 years younger than him. He likes them young. I know he was dating another girl (before me) that was still in high school and I think she was 15 years old and he was about 20 years old.

        He isn’t pretty at all. He is bald-he has more hair on his back and ass than really he ever had on his head, ageing pretty bad, very fat (thinking she has fatten him up to make sure he doesn’t go any place-just my thoughts), he doesn’t look in good health at all. For her she doesn’t look in good health also. That is just my guess with the pictures I have seen. They now have 2 very young kids. Looks like to me the outsides of them both looks like the insides of these 2 people. Maybe that is the karma but still not good enough in my book. I hope and pray one day it will happen to them but so far looks like they have walked away from all the pain they have caused. Never will understand how God lets that happen.

        • Well Beth, he will never allow you to know it, but I’m sure he is aware his life is not better for having done this.

          I occasionally talk with my son’s stepmother, she is my x’s second wife since we went our separate ways. She tells me I got his worst years, but the very fact that she knows what I’m talking about leads me to believe that he still has some very bad moments in the present. I made her promise me she had people to go to if she ever needed to leave. I told her I was here for her too.

          Narcissists will never be happy because they are always looking for something to fill up the hole. That’s probably why Brangelina has to keep adopting more kids.

          • Oh and does she wear as much makeup as Mimi? The actress that plays that part gets dolled up to be that ugly. She looks way better without the makeup.

            I can see how that makes you feel better, you’re only human. So am I.

            My first x (the abusive one who sounds like yours) is also married to a younger woman, but she is beautiful and wholesome looking. That kinda irked me for a second because he does not deserve her, but only a second. I have no romantic feelings towards him, so I really don’t care.

            Geez, I must sound so superficial.

            • Jen you do not sound superficial. You sound like a woman whose experience with a cheater has left her feeling vulnerable- as if she is in competition with all the other women in the world to maintain the interest of her partner. I recognize this because I felt the same way. I refuse to be in a relationship again with someone that makes me feel insecure.

              • Thank you MmmHmm, I really was looking for validation. That is the neurotic part of me, the Ally McBeal, who is thrilled the other women present like trash. I said “present” TheCilp, my language lets me off the hook. 😉

                He flirted with other women in front of me. I am quite sure it was done on purpose. When he and his roomate laughed about roomate’s girlfriend’s anger over roomate spending an hour helping neighbor hook up some electronics, I said, “it’s embarassing.” They both shut up. They know what they are doing, and they do it on purpose.

            • Hi Jen! No you don’t sound superficial at all. The Mimi comment just popped in my mind when I was typing at the moment (with beaver teeth please don’t forget that also!) ha!. Yes, the AP now his bloody wife has the same makeup like Mimi. ha! The statement was to be funny but it is true. No worries at all. *hugs*

              I hope you have a great day!

          • Jen, I never understood why everyone think that Brangelina couple is so great. I see right through the both. Both of them are cheaters and nothing special. Also kind of changing the subject this Kim girl mess. Another mental case if you ask me. Just Yuck all 3 of them. Yuck!

            Oh I read on some post that you were concern about being saying mean things to others and trying to clarify what you wrote. No worries on my end. I fully understand what you were saying. Thank you for understanding what I wrote also. I didn’t mean no harm to anyone and not being mean. I hope you understand.

            Just know I don’t know you in person but you are a great person and reading the comments you have written as so what others have written also is helping me with “free” therapy. HA! Plus it’s given me some great insight in what I have experience in my marriage with the ex. Plus I see myself in these comments also and what chump lady post.

            There is so much support and understanding that I didn’t have before. Thank you for being able to laugh at my Mimi comment. Laughter is the best medicine.

            Also Jen and I love this statement that I have read on this site and it’s so positive…..You are mighty my friend!!!!! *hugs* to you and thank you so much for your kind and sweet support! Sorry I’m in a very good mood today and that is how I get when I get in a great mood!!!!

            • sorry for the typos I’m on my silly phone here and I’m the queen of typos…

              1st Paragraph I see right through both of them.
              2nd Paragraph….Oh I read on some post that you were concern about being misunderstood about not wanting to say mean things to others and you wanted to clarify what you wrote.

              Sorry for the typos again!

            • I am so happy you liked what I said. I truly did get a good laugh at the Mimi thing. I haven’t seen that show in forever, but I used to love it. It is such a weird twist when you realize the enemy is Mimi! I mean, why did you even bother if what he really wanted was Mimi? 😉

              I am totally using this as free therapy right now. Still resisting the urge to medicate even though I know I would qualify for clinical depression. My x had his faults, one of which was he did drugs. All kinds of drugs. I myself lost my mind a little bit with a prescription of Adderall. Don’t try this at home kids. Bad things will happen. So I am trying to wait out the pain before running to the doctor who would prescribe heroin for me if I wanted it. (At our last session, I realized she was a little tweaked herself.).

              I am no angel, but I do have some ethics. Beth, if that woman looks like Mimi, you are entitled to a good laugh.

              • Also, if that woman looks like Angelina Jolie you are entitled to realize Angelina is just a whore. So sad for her, she must have had a rotten childhood (who didn’t?).

                The bottom line comes from LILO and Stitch. “Ohana means family. Nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

      • What if the OW is really more beautiful than me? Young, tall long legs, same height as me, but with better complexion. She has many admirers too judging from her Chinese microblog account. I think my husband cannot help himself because she is so pretty and she thew herself at him. They met at a KTV lounge where she was a ‘hostess”. I have 2 boys, 12& 8, and was planning to leave when I found out last week I am pg. it’a been 2 years since I found out and yes I was doing the pick me dance For the longest time. I spackled, hoping things would change and because my boys are happy and stable now and he seemed to be changing for the better, being a good husband and father. But he would avoid giving the answers about the affair, or turn tables on me and say I was making his life difficult when I questioned him in his whereabouts, especially when he travelled. He has gotten better at covering his tracks and hiding his money. It is only now that I see I have done many foolish things hoping to save my marriage and it has given him the advantage instead.

        • Lost

          You are getting out now, right?

          Because believe me, what we all know now is that life is too short to be living a lie.

        • Lost,
          As much as I’ve been going on about the level of attractiveness here, it really is a matter of opinion what is and isn’t attractive.

          My first x is a very good looking man, half Japanese, half Caucasian. But over time, his personality became attached to what I felt when I looked at his face. At that point, seeing him made me want to vommit.

          You are not in competition with this affair partner. There is no such thing as, “cannot help himself.” He is making a choice to do things that will hurt his wife and children. Something is wrong inside of him.

  • This post reminds me of what ex said to me right after DD: “your fucking depression and anxiety, and how you’ve gained 60 pounds in 5 yrs made me do it! Ask any man out there if they would put up with this, and if they say yes, they’re lying!”

    • Mine too accused my burnout to be the reason for his cheating, completely overlooking the fact that it was due to these two factors: horrible work environment, and his cold, angry attitude at home that would never allow me to truly relax.
      A consequence that was reused as a cause.

      • Yes this yes! “Consequence that is reused as a cause” you are freaking brilliant

        “He says he is mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted ” I got this exact shit sandwich…he made it clear that I was the cause of all of these awful things that sent him cheating when the real trouble was the difficulty of living a double life – what with all the pretending to be a decent Catholic husband and dad while romancing his coworker 3000 miles away – OF COURSE it was my fault that his life choice was tiring !!!

        I thought my road was hard but the gals who suffer this stuff in the midst of giving birth, you guys are the most badass chump survivors off all and I bow to you.

        • “I thought my road was hard but the gals who suffer this stuff in the midst of giving birth, you guys are the most badass chump survivors of all and I bow to you.”

          ^^THIS!^^

          I agree totally! If I’d had to deal with this during any of my pregnancies, I would have totally lost it. You girls are MIGHTY!

          • Agree a thousand times. I really wish there was an organization that I could volunteer with, that helps newly cheated single parents. It’s SO wrong to leave a pregnant woman or new mother, let alone expose her to disease or being downright emotionally cruel and abusive. Cheaters are so disgusting. You single parents out there have mega amounts of respect from me, too.

            • Yes, agree a thousand times two….

              Pregnant women going through this triumph as the toughest of them all. May the force of all the chumps on this site be with you.

            • I agree also. They have so many triggers! Pregnancy, buying a home, turning 30,40,50, anniversaries, weight gain, death, and money. I should say excuses. X’s shopping spree always starts in the spring so we could also blame it on the seasons.

              • I’ve pondered that, but I dot have that kind of time right now – need to focus on making money since I’m single and living in an expensive metro city. I’m also not a parent and I don’t know anything about nonprofits! I’d love to hear from anyone here who already knows of one going, though. I have some hours per week that I can volunteer. I do graphics and artwork, so I’m happy to offer those services for logo, etc if anyone starts one up as well.

            • Under,

              I would be right there with you helping others out that have been in our situation. I never got that type of support from my so called family and friends in fact they all took his side and now are great friends with him and the AP that now is his wife. Clearly some people are just followers and not independent thinkers. I think this is a great idea!!!!!

              • Jen & Beth & tony & anyone else interested.. I’ll start a thread in the forums (“Private: General” section) and throw this idea out there. It’s a rough draft of a rough draft, lol, but have thought about it since starting to read here months ago. Reading SO many life stories of pregnant women, new moms, single dads whose wives left the family, and even us non parents.. all is too much for the heart to understand sometimes. I often want to jump thru the monitor and help those of us who are struggling. And having been stuck in a situational depression state for many months, I know while in that state, asking for help even feels like an effort – which keeps you stuck for longer.

                Ok, going to write up a post and we can see where it goes. 🙂

          • I discovered many years after my children were born, after dday, that ex had cheated on me during at least one of my pregnancies. I seriously just thought, ‘You truly are a fucking pig’ and realised any feelings I may have had were dead. I mean, really, who fucks around on their pregnant wife? This was a baby we had planned.

          • Thanks red. I knew I was being treated like crap during my pregnancy but I didnt know I was being cheated on until my baby was 4 months old. Then, all of my exH’s behavior over the past year made sense. The one thing that hurt me the most was when the OW told me that my husband called her from the hospital after our daughter was born. He started a fight with me at the hospital the day I gave birth. He said he was going to leave me at the hospital (2 hours away from our home) so he could go home and get a good nights rest and then come back to get me and the baby the next day. I have no doubt he did that so he could go hook up with her while I was in the hospital recovering from child birth. The level these cheaters will stoop to disgusts me.

      • “A consequence that was reused as a cause.” You really nailed the experience that so many of us had, ChumpFromF. My very-stbx told me once (after I had discovered his latest “excessive texting with a coworker” incident), “It was just fun. Everything else in my life is so hard.” I wish I could reach back in time and give him the verbal smackdown that statement deserves. I think about all the resources he frittered away elsewhere: not just money, though there was that, but the time and attention and energy he gave away to other women, not to mention the extra efforts needed to support his secret life. Gosh, if he had just given one scintilla of that attention to me, or to the kids, or to the home, what dividends that would have reaped in a happier home life! Instead he was grumpy while home (didn’t want to be here, unbeknownst to me) and exhausted all the time. He slept away most of the weekend, because secret life upkeep *is* tiring. No wonder he thought family life was hard and not fun.

        “A consequence that was reused as a cause.” Brilliant.

    • MB,
      If I can ask did majority of your depression and anxiety leave with your dysfunctional EX?

      My EX spoke very little about what he did after sitting and confessing the church sanctioned sanitised version of events to me. He did let a few choice bits throught before he realised I was not having him back. Hiding behind them he then let them speak for him. And the excuses came thick and fast. And I was gobsmaked at the crap that came from these self confessed Christian leaders. People I once trusted.

      “He didn’t do this to get at your kids, he did it to get at you. ”
      ( this was said to me just an hour after being told my daughter had cancer.)

      “He was obviously abused as a child.”
      (No! Was not.)

      “It must be a religious spirit.”
      (The 21st century version of the devil made him do it.)

      “Of course he cheated just look at his father.”
      (Both parents are cheaters)

      “It’s not that bad, yes he did fall 8 years ago but has done his best to stay on the right path but for some reason fell again earlier this year.” ( this was the sanitised version. Truth he had been fucking others at random over the entire 8 years following his affair.

      But I have to say I laughed my ass off when he tried to tell me that the was no longer interested in others as ” he had been delivered from an unclean sexual spirit” this had been done by the same mindless morons who had the audacity to say the above.

      I cannot agree more than with the other comments. It was their choice. No one held a gun to their head.

      • “If I can ask did majority of your depression and anxiety leave with your dysfunctional EX?”

        This 100% happened to me…almost overnight actually. I also suffered from a “womans problem” where my body’s PH level were very very off. I saw my OBGYN and did all the home treatments that I could google. Nothing helped. In fact it just got worse and worse. Thankful, I swear to God, the moment he moved out, my body started to heal. My PH levels were fine that same month and since then I havent had one single problem at all. My body was literally screaming at me that something was wrong and off in the marriage but of course I didn’t trust my gut.

        My bad moods are far and few between now. I have a much longer fuse and am “long to anger and quick to forgive” in every other relationship in my life. Life is good, not easy, but good!

        • Same here. My problems didn’t disappear overnight but they did disappear. In particular, I’m back to being my good-natured self, something I don’t think I was in the last year or two of my marriage.

          • Living with the disordered can take the “light” right out of us Chumps. And stress can lead to all kinds of illnesses…. Nord, I too am “back to being my good-natured self,” but I am still a work in progress.

          • Me too. I used to be really sick all the time. Once the healing started (she left), I’ve started feeling 30 again. It’s wonderful to know I LITERALLY have my life back 🙂

        • I took antidepressants for 19 years. I tried them all and varying dosages. When he left I was so upset I kept forgetting to take them. Realized after two months I hadn’t had 1 pill and felt terrific. I don’t think there was a pill on the market that could have made me feel better about my life with him. So technically I wasn’t chemically imbalanced, just emotionally.

          • So many people think there is something wrong with them when what is wrong is how they are living and with whom.

        • Add me to the group that got way better health wise and psychologically once that thing was out of my life.

          I used to have terrific nightmares when she slept beside me. During the break up if I woke up in the middle of the night it was not due to nightmares as in the past but instead due to the general pain from the what had happened.

          I usually went and ran until this feeling went away and now I sleep very well.

      • “If I can ask did majority of your depression and anxiety leave with your dysfunctional EX?” I went out with a friend about 3-4 months after husband died and she got crazy drunk and told me I never looked better and widowhood agreed with me. She wasnt the only person to day such things…Ive been told Im aging in reverse. Im calmer and feel safer than I did with him around.

      • I’m not sure I could practice my religion after being treated that way. It would make me feel like the patriarchal institution of religion was being used to keep me (as a woman) subservient to my abuser. Kudos to ministers like Divorce Minister who empowers victims (whether male or female) to leave these oppressive relationships by pointing out that this is NOT what God intended.

    • Yeah, there’s a great reason to cheat–your partner is struggling with depression or an illness or has a couple of toddlers to manage. I work with a guy who at one point had 5 kids under 6, including a group of multiples. He was totally engaged with his work and his family. Angelina Jolie couldn’t have made him cheat and his wife was often off her head BONKERS, and with good reason, given the health challenges of the kids. But he was true blue and still is. So CL is right–character disorder.

      • I was just discussing something along these lines with my therapist – is it too much to expect a partner or spouse to go to counseling to learn how to better live with someone with an illness, mental or otherwise? For instance, alcoholics may go to AA while their partners go to Al-Anon. My partner pursued nothing in terms of better supporting me and declared herself out of ideas. Yet as we see so often on here, chumps will move mountains to stay with people who not only deny having issues, but actively hurt their partners.

        I suppose co-dependency plays a role, but I think it also goes into the kinds of attachments we form. I would say that the guy in your example feels a deep, intimate kind of love that encourages making an effort, while others have a more superficial connection that suggests cheating and/or abandonment as a better path. I guess this is what we mean when we talk about character issues.

        • The guy I referred to is just an honorable man who loves his family. The fact that 5 kids under 6 is stressful, or his wife had a long recovery from carrying a multiple birth did not figure in his decision making. He is committed to his family, so these ordinary factors (postpartum issues, toddlers, money stress, etc.) don’t affect his decision making.

          As to supporting someone with an illness: I think deciding about staying with an alcoholic or substance abuser (for example) would depend on (1) how healthy the sober partner is, e.g., whether the sober partner is an untreated or undiagnosed codependent, and (2) whether the partner struggling with abuse is committed to change. My XH (not the cheater) was an alcohol and substance abuser who did not want to change. His true partner(s)? Whiskey. Wine. Beer. Pills. So there is no life that makes sense with a partner in that situation. Even with rehab, the stats are dismal, but I know people who have quit the substance, but then there is the need to work on the underlying issues that supported addiction. Sometimes in these situations, the right “character” choice is not to support and enable addiction. That’s tough if you love an addict, but my X would probably be dead if I hadn’t said I was done. He had to clean up his act enough to function.

          For someone with a decease like cancer or Alzheimer’s, that’s a no-brainer for me. I’ve had parents with those conditions (among others) and that is what “in sickness and health” is all about. It’s hard and painful but there can be tremendous satisfaction in being faithful as a partner or a child or even a sibling or friend to someone who has a chronic or terminal illness. No one said life would be easy. But this is a Chump board and I would think that most of us don’t cut and run when life gets hard (ha ha).

          • LAJ, You hit the nail on the head with the “true” partners many of these people have: whiskey, wine, beer, pills. I would add there are other “partners,” perhaps more subtle, that are also deal breakers in the long run, such as the ones my ex (not the cheater) had. His true partners that he refused to give up or work on: Anger. Negativity. Self-pity. Cynicism. Rigidity. He wanted to hold onto these more than he wanted happiness with me. So be it.

            I too have honorable guy friends who love their families and would NEVER cheat, no matter what difficulties they are going through. I would bet my life on that. It’s a character issue, as we all know. It’s also a maturity and self-respect issue. I know cheaters have huge entitlement problems and are often smug narcissists, but I also think that underneath all of that is a core lack of a mature identity and an ability to genuinely like and respect themselves. My good guy friends have grounded themselves in an identity of male strength and solid adult maturity that focuses on things outside of themselves: family, community, leadership, commitment to ideals beyond their own comfort and pleasure, and wanting to make the world better for the next generation. Knowing these guys exist helps strengthen my resolve that I won’t settle for less than this in my next relationship.

            • “I too have honorable guy friends who love their families and would NEVER cheat, no matter what difficulties they are going through. I would bet my life on that.”

              My friends swore on the fact that my husband would never be a cheater ever – he adored me. Well guess what happened? He cheated. No one knows what their partners are capable until it happens.

              • Hurt, I am so sorry. It sounds like you were one of those who was absolutely blindsided. And I know that people can be capable of anything, at any time. But there really are good, honorable people in the world that would never cheat, and they don’t cheat, no matter what. So many chumps here on this site are living proof of that!! They would be incapable of cheating. This gives me faith in humanity, and maybe even faith to risk loving again. I hope you, me, all of us will be fortunate to only have solid people in our lives and never again go through this kind of betrayal.

        • I’m growing to hate the term “co-dependent,” as if being a nice person is itself a psychological disorder. Okay, we let the cheater skate on a number of things in marriages because we were willing to carry the weight of children, marriage, finances, etc.–that is pathology? Being concerned about others? Screw that.

          • I can see that concerning co-dependency; I’m trying to figure out where the line is myself. I may have expressed myself poorly… what I was trying to get at was that it seems lots of people get away with great misdeeds while others are thrown aside for the general flaws that come with being human. In many cases chumps have put up with years of abuse and still love their partner; the partner on the other hand will latch onto just about any minor failing to justify their actions, and in many cases the chump buys it. I’m struggling to get my head around the unfairness of it all. And I know, I know, “life isn’t fair”, but damn it hurts.

            • Absolutely, Whichwaydidshego–the cheaters and the critical, emotionally abusive spouses deserve to be called out on their behavior, and their rationalizations for crappy decisions. But WE chumps do not have an illness because we saw them as better than they actually were. Most of us were blindsided by the deception; we didn’t LET them get away with it (which is what co-dependent implies).

              • Tempest

                I am going to give my perspective.

                I believe I am co-dependent and I am working on it because I thought I could control others when really, I can only control myself. So, I had to learn that I could not love, give or please and make someone love me or do anything else.

                Also, there were many times in my relationship when I wanted to say “no” and instead I said yes.

                I try to fix other people and problems when I have plenty to work on internally.

                I know that I ignored huge red flags in the beginning that other people would have laughed at her and walked out right then.

                I was groomed to be a people pleaser by my sociopath father.

                All of these culminated in my ex-wife picking me because she knew it was a battle she could win, and I believe that many of the posters here share many of the same traits otherwise they would not have been chosen.

                I get what you are saying, but the simple fact of the matter is that I need to be more careful to whom I am being nice, and to focus on myself and my wants and needs over other people so that hopefully this never happens to me again.

          • Co-dependency is just another way to victim blame. Victim resisting: then he/she is of equal blame.
            Ugh, I had soooo many people blame me for dragging the divorce out bc I refused to appease little Ass.
            I wonder if they now see: the guy walked away with everything & still ain’t happy.
            (Remember this one: “Just give Hitler, Poland. Then he will be happy.” Ok, Austia… Holland, France…)

            • I often thought I was going to drown “appeasing” my first (abusive) x. I literally thought of the Hitler analogy you just made.

        • WWDSG, I also was just discussing this with a friend. I researched his (ahem) “little problem” (premature ejaculation) to the ends of the earth — how could I help? what could I do, as his partner? But he never made any efforts to learn anything about my depression, which was actually not noticeable 90% of the time — whenever I had a “flare-up” though, he never knew what to do and never bothered to try to find out.

      • About 9 months before dday & quick runaway, we were dealing with the horrible actions of a next door neighbor. We went to town council & county council & got no help. I was getting depressed over the situation & losing weight. My family doctor recommended that I talk to a therapist as although I couldn’t change the neighbor’s actions,I could change my reaction to his behavior. This seemed to work & about a month before dday we were driving around different neighborhoods looking for a new home because we could no longer take it. It was a very stressful time but together we’d get through it.

        After dday, ex slammed be for staying in bed at times when the neighbor was acting up. I felt I’d rather zone out than be terribly upset because I couldn’t enjoy my property. I remember telling him, “that rather than telling me that it’d be alright & better days are coming, you decided to resent me because of the helplessness of the situation.” No response from him of course because running away was a better thing to do.

        • Hurt1–cheaters don’t do empathy, or constructive problem solving. They suck–suck the life out of those with empathy and problem solving skills.

          • Every argument my husband and I have ends with him raging, “you have never respected me… I will never be good enough.” I’ve tried and tried to rationalize with him; to help him to understand things from my perspective. I plan to file for divorce after Easter, and all I can think about is how I want to present the news to him. It’s been 3 years since Dday, and I think he’s had plenty of time to problem solve, and to at least TRY to develop some empathy. Do I even bother to explain that I can’t live with him any longer because I can’t forget about his multiple affairs? Do I tell him I want to get a divorce because I want to protect my mental health, and be a strong role model for our children; or maybe I should say I can’t get over the pain, and I don’t feel valued? It all seems pointless, because my words fall on deaf ears. I’ve been thinking I’ll say “I want a divorce because it’s clear to me that I have never treated you the way you want to be treated… I want you to have the opportunity to find somebody who makes you feel respected.”

      • Where do I find that guy? The one with the multiples who doesn’t cheat and cares about family? Oh wait, I rejected that guy, everytime he showed interest. “I can’t be a member of any club that would actually have me”. -Groucho Marx and I’m sure I got the quote wrong, but you get the gist.

        Multiples. Jon and Kate plus 8. That didn’t end well. I want to believe he was overwhelmed, but she was too. I do not think she is a bitch. The woman had six kids in one day. Who wouldn’t try to gain some control? Without that show, how would they afforded that?

        • Lol I rejected that guy too – yawn, so dull, no spark. My h had the spark. And the dynamite to blow everything up. He asked me in therapy what I wanted out of a spouse and I said, ” faithful and a big schlong”.

      • Not Julliet, this is not really about anybody’s physical appearance. Sometimes cheaters use it to justify their behavior or their sense of entitlement.

        At the end of the day, they just didn’t love us, and that is hard to accept. We kind of get that love isn’t about perfection or your best case senario. They don’t. It hurts. And we just have to let them go because they don’t know any better.

        We question every way we weren’t right. It wasn’t about that. I still struggle to figure what it was about. I really don’t think it was me.

    • My ex also blamed my “unhappiness and depression” as a reason to cheat. But who doesn’t get depressed when their spouse becomes disengaged, is gone all the time, won’t talk to you and stops wearing their wedding ring? You don’t know what’s wrong but you know something isn’t right.

      When my kids were little they were very sick and my ex traveled all the time. I went 5 years without getting a full night’s sleep, and often had nights where I got no sleep at all. I got depressed and felt overwhelmed. I ended up in the hospital myself. How did ex respond? He started traveling even more. That’s when I started finding love notes in his pockets (he claimed a student had a crush on him). I also started getting strange phone calls telling me my husband wasn’t where he said he was (he blamed on a disgruntled employee). How I wish I would have trusted my gut instead of him!

      After he left my depression left too.

      • It’s bullshit, I got depressed when my Mom died and his reaction to this one time I couldn’t take care of HIM, was to cheat, then blame me for sitting in front of my computer every day (I telework). It’s all bullshit blame shifting

        • It’s such bullshit. They provide no comfort or support for a partner who is grieving or overwhelmed and then they blame the partner for being depressed to excuse their cheating and further disengagement. Just a mindfuck.

        • Yeah, my f*cker started an affair two months after my mother died prematurely at age 64, and I was grief-stricken. Some things can never be forgiven.

          • The more rigorous my caregiving become the more withdrawn and unsupportivd he became along with telling me how easy I had it and how lazy I was. I guess he thought that gave him license to look for a way out. Next thing I knew he had a “friend” at work.

  • JW when I was a little boy my parents taught me the difference between giving a reason for something and giving an excuse.

    When you give a reason for something you TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for something!

    With an excuse YOU DONT!

    ask your self, is your husband giving a reason or an excuse for this BS about ” stress”?

    • Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with assholes.

      • A good friend of mine once said “get out of the depressing situation and your depression will leave.”

        One thing I wonder, though, are Chumps more likely to turn anger towards themselves and Cheaters more likely to act theirs out? I guess it all boils down to an inability to work out conflict. It’s pretty hard to work out conflict with a person who won’t admit there are any issues, though.

      • Rachel they were very smart and guess what ? They never cheated on each other

        ! My daughter is called Rachel btw beautiful name!

  • There are very few things that help relieve your stress like handing your cheating estranged spouse divorce papers. Hes already divorced you jw might as well make it official.

    • A few days after dday, I wrote our wedding date, added a dash, then entered the dday date on the mirror in our bathroom with the letters R.I.P. My head knew the marriage was over – he had pledged to me to forsake all other but didn’t – but my heart is still hurt & broken 5 years later. The divorce itself was just the dissolution of a business contract by law & who cares about that date.

      • hurt

        If it has been five years since the divorce, please tell us about the good in your life that has happened that I know exists.

        • Tony, it has been 5 years since he walked out & coming on 3 years since the divorce. I was completely blindsided. I know that that is not the case for most of the posters here but this site helps in my healing that he truly sucks. There has been some good times since the divorce but learning of his engagement to a woman who was not the OWhore has set me back a bit. Thought in all this time I would find love again & maybe start a new life but that hasn’t happened. I dated 2 men who ended up loving their careers way too much over having a serious relationship. One in fact was a chump 20 years ago & knows all about spackling. I’ll try to keep my sadness rather than my bitterness out of my posts. Thanks for your concern.

          • hurt1

            You can post however you want – that is the beauty of this website and the people on here.

            You are not alone, and know that people share your pain and truly understand.

            I was a wild child bad boy who always really wanted a family and a good wife deep down and I thought that I found that in my ex-wife. She knew that is what I wanted, and she certainly seemed the part and took it for a ride.

            So, I too was completely blindsided.

            These things happen. You can do this. I am sorry that the guys you dated turned out not to be what you wanted, but it seems like you at least got out for adult reasons – career – and not spoiled little brat reasons – cheating.

  • When I discovered my husband was having an affair back in 93 my 3 kids were young – one pre school age – and I had no paid work. He blamed the stress of his fathers death and my post natal depression.
    We never really recovered, he did almost nothing to restore trust, and yes, it happened again and he left anyway.
    This post resonates with CLs recent post on Timid Forest Creatures….he has stress…tiptoe around it…do not add to his stress by asking questions that he does not want to answer….overlook his lies and evasions…keep your own stress hidden away…think of your children because it is your sole responsibility to keep this marriage together for their sake…its a phase he is going through…its your fault.
    I kept my head in the sand out of fear and denial in order to put food on the table and avoid being a single mum.
    Only you can decide but the cheating will probably continue and the finances sound unstable anyway. Please take precautions to protect your security and have a worst case scenarion plan.
    I was in my 30s on DDay 1 and muddled on for years. He left for OW2 who he had been involved with for years. It was devastating but, 6years on, I have a different life that does not include constant deception.

    • “do not add to his stress by asking questions that he does not want to answer….overlook his lies and evasions…keep your own stress hidden away…think of your children because it is your sole responsibility to keep this marriage together for their sake…its a phase he is going through…its your fault.”

      I so relate to this! It’s the kind of thought process that kept me stuck for so long.

  • Married five years. Cheated on for three years. Hmmmm. Nope. Cheated on before marriage and all five years. Will be looking at porn and having sex with strangers for the rest of his life. You are worth so much more than that.

    • Yep, this is the first thing I noticed as well. They’ve only been married five years, and he’s been cheating since 2012 — Let’s see, it’s now 2015, so that would be… one… two… three…. of five years! I don’t feel like I have to know anything more than that one fact. And she can’t get him to admit to any of it? Just exactly what kind of future does that imply? That she’ll get to be married to him for 50 years but he’ll cheat 30 of those years?

  • Run to a lawyer and take the asshat to court for the divorce. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you without this POS. You and your kids deserve better. Good luck.

  • JW, you’ve *already* done the hard part !!!! Good going!!

    First thing you do now – (especially if you are in a fault-based divorce state), go make a screen shot/copy of his Match.com page. Do some detective work to figure out just who this woman is. Also make copies of anything you find like odd receipts. Do you have access to the cell bills? Download history.

    Make an appointment to talk with an attorney regarding your rights. Don’t be too concerned about him being able to weasel out of child support because he is “self-employed.” Here in my state, they will impugn income to people like him.

    START getting financial records in order – you will have to present copies of WHATEVER you have in liquid and other assets. This can be the most tedious.

  • I’m so tired of hearing about how these cheaters do what they do because they are stressed out and/or unhappy.

    Being effectively abandoned while pregnant made me pretty darned stressed out. Having to go back to full-time work for the first time in 7 years at 7 months pregnant made me incredibly unhappy.

    Somehow, I managed to avoid getting on Tinder and looking for f*** buddies.

  • JW,

    He’s incredibly selfish. Look at his response! It is all about him. I hear nothing about what pain, stress, or suffering HE HIMSELF has caused you AND THE KIDS! Floors me how cheaters can have such disregard for their own flesh and blood. It is bad enough they do this to their spouses.

    Listen to CL, JW! You really don’t have anything to work with here from what I see.

    -DM

  • JW,
    I commend you on your strength and determination, you and your husband would surely not be where you are (in the positive aspects) without it. Raising young children is tough when you have a wonderful spouse & plenty of money…what your husband has set up here is sadly a sinking ship. You can’t keep it afloat on your own, but he will absolutely let you try.
    My scenario parallels yours in this way; my STBX began his withdrawal & affair from the marriage while I was pregnant and merely 2 years after we had gotten married. I understand the shock you must be in for things to go south so quickly, take it as a blessing. Instead of wasting decades of your life trapped in a loveless marriage, having your kids watch you suffer and exposing you to STD’s he’s showing you who he is now. I’d suggest taking a good look at the logistics of he situation, accepting the reality and running the other direction. It’s the best option for you and your children.
    Let’s assume your husband is “disordered” as we often refer to here, so many cheaters are, dare I say 99.9%? So assuming that, try to see this from his disordered, entitled, selfish perspective: if you leave his party will be over. He will have to become a real boy and he will be held legally responsible for the things you tried to hold him responsible for. He will be required to get a steady job, child support for 3 kids will be hefty, that’s not including the possibility of spousal support or alimony. He will lose his ability to have these affairs covertly, sometimes that’s s big appeal to the disordered. He will also lose his free time to have said affairs because he will be working so much. I could go on, I’m hoping you get the point. If he’s thinking of himself, which he has clearly been doing, he’s just looking for self preservation here.
    If he wanted to be a decent husband he would have turned to his wife for support for his stress, period. He made his choice. In my opinion you should make yours; get a lawyer, protect yourself and have child support set up so you’re at least taken care of financially. It’s your choice from that point but I pesonslly think you deserve more than what your husband has offered you.
    Good luck.

    • “If he wanted to be a decent husband he would have turned to his wife for support for his stress, period.” SO true. Mine turned to whores as well. Also, Cheaters are like mice; if you find one relationship, you can be sure there are 20 more. Let him go. Divorce his ass while he’s moved out, and move on with your life. I plan on filing after Easter, but I know it will be a big scene, because he has a tendency to rage. I am looking forward to serving him divorce papers, but apprehensive. I will be so much healthier when he’s gone, but I’m gonna have to walk through fire to get there.

  • What a narcisstic self-serving asshole he is! It’s all about him, isn’t it?…..NOT! Who is stuck at home, caring for three small children and worrying about how you are financially going to be able to do that? YOU! Who was lied to, cheated on, and possibly having your life (and your unborn baby’s life) at risk through his actions? YOU! Take him to the cleaners, girl, and don’t hesitate!!

    • I am SO sorry that you are going through this. Honestly I feel suspended in my life right now. Limbo sucks! I wish that answers were easier. Leave him, get a lawyer, find a new place…nine of that will be easy but either is being second fiddle in your marriage.

      My kids left with their dad on vacation and I miss them so much. This is going to be our new normal. Funny thing is that I miss the life that I hope that I could have with my husband and kids intact but it is over. Every step of this journey after D-Day I am more clarity. It has only been about 3 months and it is hard.

      I think what it really comes down to is that I realize that my mild depression over the years was caused by being in this marriage. He blames my mild depression on one reason that he cheated. I wasn’t sexual enough. The first affair happened after my 3 baby was only about 6 months old. I had a toddler and a baby and worked full time. These are excuses and he made a choice.

      Looking back at the last 17 years with him. He didn’t do a lot of the hard work to make ME happy but I didn’t cheat. I never even thought about it. I was married, I have a moral code, I have character. I would never have cheated on him and disrespected him that way.

      My husband continues to say he loves me but he is still in contact with his Ho-worker. He says that it is all business now but I don’t trust anything anymore. I am suspended in my life but I am getting stronger everyday. I am finding that I love myself enough to say I want more out of this life for me and our kids. Hang in there and I will be thinking of you.

      • Tempest would have the best insight on this, but I think depression can both be a factor that gets us into involvement with sparkly character-disordered types and a symptom of living with those people. Speaking for myself, I’ve lived with a tendency toward depression all my life, as a result of living with narcissistic and alcoholic parents. So what did I seek out in relationships? You guessed it–narcissistic and alcoholic partners. Which led to more depression. For me, the key was seeing that and breaking the chain, which for now means focusing on my health and welfare until I get my life where I want it to be.

        • LAJ: Ditto, ditto, and ditto. So for now, I am relatively at peace with being alone. Lonely, yes, but at least I’m not being abused.

          Of course, I’m way past the young kids stage–but hey, guess what, parenting doesn’t stop! It just gets different….

          And for the record, Crapweasel told me that he “blamed me” when his mother died. WTF? Like I have magical powers or something? Huh, I never did get that one, one of the major blame-game outliers.

          • That’s a stunner. I supposed his hair loss or weight gain or wrinkles or global warming is your fault, too…or mine…somebody’s….

            • Well, I get how depression could be a blame source for these idiots. But, I’ve never had it. I was always a pretty happy person. I guess we can lay cheaters across all the board lines. They fit every single group. Happy, sad, kids, no kids, money, no money, ..well, you get the idea. They’ll cheat no matter who you are, I guess.

              • But, I’ll never forget the time he was laying some major hurt on me verbally (prior to knowing he was having this affair) and I was in some bad pain by his words. And he said, geez, you’re looking old.
                I’ll never forget that. I wish I told him the same thing because, so was he. I’m not that mean. I just sat like a zombie-Chump. Sure wish I had a come-back for that now.

            • I got blamed because I “ruined” his chance to be a professional mountain climber (I never remember that offer coming in) and I “refused” to have 7 children with him. Where did the number 7 come in? We had 3 …I never figured out if he wanted 7 children AND to be a professional mountain climber or just one of those things. How many professional mountain climbers are there in the world?

              One day he was in another rant about me “only” having 3 babies (I had my tubes tied and they LOVE to complain about stuff that they KNOW you cant change…it makes their complaints seem s little more valid) and I asked him “How many children did you want to abandon me with then” (based on the other rant, the answer was apparently 7).

              • Does he yodel? I mean really, you should’ve known. Didn’t you ever see the Sound of Music?

              • “Is” and “does” in the present tense no longer apply to him as he had died but he was a fascinating study in contrast…

                He could run a 50 mile marathon or march in his combat boots until his feet bled with nary a peep but at home he was a whiner of Biblical proportions. He would complain like a 6 yr old girl in the back seat of a car on a long car trip who had to pee. He griped all day every day without ceasing, almost exclusively at me…I was the scapegoat and I had a 50 gallon drum of spackle.

                Just so you fine people know, it was most certainly MY fault that he retired as a Major…if I had been a better wife he would have been at least a Lt Col. It was just before his retirement that I was told he was leaving because I had been such a bad wife. OW was a small detail he forgot to mention in that conversation, but he did invite her to his retirement ceremony…she brought a fake boyfriend to decrease suspicion.

        • Thanks for the plug, LAJ! It’s true–a number of things, including depression, lead us to become involved with sparkly types. However, even people who are not depressed, but may have some other personality trait (very giving, have a need to please others, low self-esteem) can be attracted to these seeming high-functioning narcissists. George Simon calls us “neurotics” (an unfortunate, term, IMHO)–people who are willing to self-sacrifice for others, make excuses for their behavior, & who fall prey to their manipulations because we are easily made to feel guilty.

          Inevitably depression does result from the learned helplessness that comes from living with cheaters, narcissists, sociopaths. There can be NO winning with these types. As we all know from experience, they will use either aggressive techniques or covert aggression to convince you of their view of reality, to get you to succumb to their wishes, to blameshift, etc. I knew all this and fought back constantly in my marriage, and still spiraled into a depression.

          “Learned helplessness” comes from a study by Seligman in which dogs who were unable to avoid a shock during one set of trials were then put into some trials where they COULD avoid a shock by jumping over a wall. But they didn’t. Once the dogs became used to not being able to help themselves, they continued that behavior even after circumstances had changed. Same with chumps (which is why getting away from the cheater is the only answer).

          • You are brilliant Tempest! I first became depressed as a child. My father was dying slowly from diabetes, suffering every complication, blindness, kidney failure, losing his limbs, then finally 13 years later, congestive heart failure. My mother hated him for being sick and no longer being the brilliant engineer she married. To her credit, she didn’t leave or cheat. She took a lot of that out on me, and there was no where to go to get away from it. I very much identify with the learned helplessness model of depression.

            So I picked a narcissist. When that blew up and I was freed, because my son is autistic, if he hadn’t been, narcissist would have held on, I moved on to a man with addiction issues. The second is a confirmed cheater, the first probably was, but was much better at keeping it hidden. I kept wanting the first to cheat so I would have a reason to leave, how fucked up is that?

            Antidepressants do help. So does just being independent. Being able to provide for yourself and children. It’s not an easy task. A good dog helps. Loving your work helps, I let go of a great job a few years ago and I kick myself for that.

            And I hope, now that I realize how ridiculous it was to put stock in these kinds of people, that I will meet someone who is decent, won’t blame me for their issues, and won’t do things that are hurtful. “I want to have horrible arguments with you and know that you’re not going anywhere.”-Harry in When Harry Met Sally.

          • “Inevitably depression does result from the learned helplessness that comes from living with cheaters, narcissists, sociopaths.” There is a lot of food for thought here. I’m done untangling his skein but I’m still trying to figure out why I stayed for so long. Thanks Tempest. I have to chew on this a bit.

            • StrongerEveryday–I struggle with that, too (24+ years with the jackass). What I’ve worked out is that most fibers of my being are set to “nurture.” Every time I’d had enough of X’s bad behavior, he would pull the vulnerability card, apologize, hoover me back in with promises & somewhat improved behavior (for awhile). He never fully deserved my sympathy, but I gave it, because I like to nurture people, dogs, fish (that’s a whole ‘nother story!), etc.

              Now I know that someone has to deserve the nurturing, and emotionally abusive bullies won’t get a second chance from me (or in the case of X, a third, or a fourth, or a 10 to the 15th power….). I get to keep “nurture,” which I like, but be more discriminating about it. Throw out the bathwater (cheater) but not the baby.

              • I’m thinking that the danger of “learned helplessness” is one reason why people should get away from any kind of abuse.

              • Tempest, isn’t it breathtaking to see how a cheater manipulates? He knew about your nurturing spirit, and knew how to use that to pull you back in every time. I’ve had a lot of revelations like this over the past year. One of the bigger ones was that he used to accuse me of being controlling, in a “it has to be my way”-sort of manner. And yet that wasn’t me at all–I bent and went against my better judgment so many times, both in the spirit of compromise–we were a team!–and also so I wouldn’t be perceived as controlling. My mom was an over-the-top controller and I saw what misery that caused. I went the opposite way, but my stbx knew it was a vulnerable spot for me and he manipulated that to make me feel bad–and to ensure that I’d continue to keep going along with whatever he wanted! The view from the Hindsight Balcony is just stunning.

                But getting back to the depression thing: for so many years of the marriage I felt stuck and helpless. I was home with two little kids and had stalled out on my dissertation; my never-ending “student” status was causing real strain in so many areas of my life. We were struggling financially and I felt tremendous guilt. I look back now and see depression–dysthymia or atypical depression–though it was never diagnosed. For a while I wondered if it would have made a difference had I sought counseling during that time (more guilt!); now I know that it may have made a difference for me personally, but it would have never kept him from cheating on me. He was always going to cheat.

                Referring back up to an earlier comment, the “consequence as a cause” comment, my stbx blamed my lack of progress on the dissertation as my part in the demise of the marriage. The implied accusation here is that this was the reason he cheated. In fact, when we went to our first MC session near the end of the marriage, the counselor asked us each for one thing we needed in order to continue in the marriage. I said I needed full transparency–where he was, what he was doing, access to all electronics–and he said he needed for me to finish my dissertation. At the time it didn’t even phase me–it seemed fair!–though the therapist immediately told him that wasn’t something he could ask for, and when I told my best friend about it she lost her mind over it. I was so muddled.

                Now I’m thinking about this “learned helplessness.” It add a whole other dimension. The stbx is definitely a cheater, definitely character disordered, and most likely has a personality disorder as well. The good news here is that the divorce is final in 5 weeks. 🙂

  • Wow JW, my STBX responded the same way, to ‘reconciliation’. It’s like they have some mentor somewhere, (Satan, maybe?) because they all seem to have the same lines. You and yours are more deserving of lame ass excuses- the ones that point to you for being in ANY WAY responsible for HIS shit choices are the most insulting. And spending your life and counting on someone who had to get caught before he considered ‘choosing’ you is scary. You don’t want someone who has to ‘learn’ how to cherish and protect you and your life together. Trust me. Trust chump lady and the rest of us here- you deserve better than this, and so do your children. And Tracy is right- don’t even waste your time thinking about the OW. ANY woman is the OW for guys like this. It never ends, they just get better at manipulating you, if you let them. There’s a better life for you, and IMO these details are revealed to us for a reason. XO

    • “You don’t want someone to learn how to cherish you.”

      That was brilliant. We want to convince these jerks that we deserve a rose. It’s just messed up.

      It will be so hard to go it alone with three kids. But, if you stay where you are, you will never be cherished. Even if you never meet someone else who cherishes you (and I seriously doubt that is your future), you can be the driver of your own destiny.

  • expathump, love this phrase, been hearing it a lot lately and it applies to so many situations, wish the younger me had it to carry around in my head

  • The asshole I left was sooo depressed after losing a large sum of money. His lip was so far down I don’t know how he did not step on it. If we were not in the house he could get revenge on the people that lost his money. Could you just move out? Dday was two year prior and I did the dance. Finally I realized he was much more devastated over the money than what he did to our family. He showed zero remorse because it was all my, the kids, and my families fault. Depression my ass. We were all depressed but I did not choose to cheat and his cheating happened throughout the marriage and dating. Texted” I’m sorry my depression hurt my family.” Sorry shit head-it was the lying, cheating, selfish,insulting, leaving me single a single parent, that hurt us. It is your true character that hurt us and caused us to leave not depression.

  • Do you want your husband to be the example to your children of how a man treats a woman and what a woman should put up with? Break away now. My girls are much older and I am concerned that they will date or marry someone just like their cheating, lying dad. If you break away now while they are young, then you can teach them by showing them.

  • JW, think of it this way. HIs business ended in 2013. You suspected him in 2012. He was probably cheating before you suspected him. The stress of his business being in trouble (because of debt?) didn’t STOP him from cheating. Faced with business failure, presumably about debt, a responsible person would redouble his efforts, not sneak around with another woman racking up hotel bills. As it is with most cheaters, his story doesn’t add up, doesn’t square up with the actual world that we live in.

    It’s enormously tempting to hang on to a cheater until you get something you think you need: an admission of guilt, details of the cheating, the name(s) of the OW(s). And sometimes we get hooked on spying, internet sleuthing, and other undercover work. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he saw in the OW, only to conclude my therapist was right in the first place. She worshipped him. So he didn’t mind trading down. It’s important to take the last step–just let go of his f***ed up life, his excuses, his whining self-pity. You are already far down the road to single motherhood. Go the rest of the way and get child support and a division of property to support your kids.

    Now, about his business failure. I have a theory about some disordered cheaters, especially narcissists. They love to own their own businesses because it is impossible for them to accept supervision from others above them on a business food chain. But when they own their own business, their inflated sense of importance and inability to defer gratification dooms them to failure. Jackass was a case study in this. He was born with a good mind, is talented in his work, and is willing to work hard. He also can be charming and likable. That sounds like a recipe for success. But normal success is not enough. Jackass, for example, would allow family members to have major roles in his business so as to be the center of the family and so disagreements with spouses, siblings, and parents, who also wanted to be “most important,” etc., would create chaos and conflict. That also allowed him to blame others when the businesses failed.

    Divorce and child support in his case made this problem visible. He had to get a real job. He’s had at least 8 jobs in 11 years–all of them at the top of the pay scale for his skill set. He left every one because of some conflict with his supervisors. Every one! In one case, a woman inherited the business from her father and he had major conflict with how she did things. That was years ago and that business is still growing and thriving. His bosses are always crazy or liars or thieves or on the wrong side of the law.

    My point here is that both the business and marital failures of your husband are likely to be part of a larger character disorder that you can’t fix. Waiting for him to come out of his fog or admit his sins or behave like an adult with three kids is a giant soul-sucking waste of your life. I’m guessing his motto is “You aren’t the boss of me.” That’s why he wants to work for himself, and that’s why he feels entitled to do whatever he pleases in your marriage. Because he has no mental frame for cooperation, collaboration, or partnership.

    • LAJ, you’re so right. My STBX is very intelligent yet has never held a “real” job. He cannot even get past an interview because he insists on showing his brilliance by arguing and disagreeing with them. He can’t fathom why an employer might not like this. And he can’t allow anyone to supervise him because everyone is an “idiot.” It gets so tiring.

      JustWondering, read LAJ’s last paragraph over a couple of times. She is spot on. He’s got a character disorder you can’t fix or wait for him to grow out of.

      • There certainly seems to be a subset of cheaters like this. And they often chose responsible women only to resent them once the initial kibble rush wears off. And your X’s latest publishing scheme is a great example of their more delusion ideas.

      • ML, I know a chap just like your STBX. Yes, he is very intelligent yet never held a “real” job because welfare in Australia is quite generous and this chap is now 59 years old and still freeloading with absolutely no interest in finding work and his wife is the same and yet their 3 children all have responsible jobs and contribute to society. However, I tend to find these “intelligent” people to be excellent scammers, liars and BS artists, so to me that tends to negate their intelligence because they are too cunning for their own good which eventually is their undoing.

    • LAJ, I think you nailed it with regard to the character disorder and the inability to work for others or to be in a real relationship. They just don’t have what it takes. It is a pity that talent and skills are never developed because they cannot take any supervision or criticism or handle any responsibility.

      I also think that women hear a powerful message from our social structure about raising children in a two parent home, and the positive influence of a good father. The key words are “positive influence” and “good” father. Same for mothers. Just because someone is able to make a biological contribution to the creation of a life does not mean there is a magic ability to be a good parent. The hardest job I ever had was being married, and yet being a single mom. It was much easier when the funds I received were determined to be child support, and I did not have any issues regarding discipline or what would be best for the children. They also did not need to see the fighting, and they did not need to see the effects that lying and cheating cause in a marriage. It would be wonderful to have assistance raising children, and paying bills. But when all the partner does is waste oxygen and resources, and constantly cause Jerry Springer type drama in the house — you don’t have a “contributing partner” — you have a dead weight you are dragging around, in addition to everything else.

      Not worrying about someone else’s problem is also a great relief. Life will be much easier for Just Wondering when she stops wasting any of her time and energy on this world class loser.

      • “Dead weight” is right. When kids live with an unchecked narcissist parent while the other parent’s energy is focused on kibble maintenance and defending the family against the chaos, they don’t have any chance to develop the life skills they will need to maintain healthy relationships for themselves. They think narcissism and co-dependency are the norm. So you were smart and powerful to turn all that around. And you make a great point that being married and a single parent is harder than simply being a single parent.

    • The idiot I married hated coworkers who let him “do all the work and then they take all the credit”. Guess what the idiot did with my life’s work? (And to think, I felt so bad for him…)

    • LAJ, you just described my marriage. Husband is quite gifted with finances, and loves to be the boss of everybody. As a business owner… works out every morning, saunters in to the office by 10:30-11, goes out to lunch, and leaves by 5 most days. Yes, he gets a lot done when he’s at work, but he’s definitely not the “nose to the grindstone” type of guy that he thinks he is. I don’t dare ask him to participate with chores at home. My last request escalated into “you don’t know what I go through at work”, and “you don’t appreciate me or anything I do… I’ll never be good enough.”

      And your second paragraph, “hanging onto a cheater until you get something you think you need.” (raising my hand). I’m slowly learning not to engage with him. After all the cheating, lying etc… he has yet to show remorse. I’m learning that nothing I say will change him, or drive him to introspection, and nothing HE says is true. It’s tough not to engage… I guess I still want the validation, but I’m almost over it.

      One thing has been particularly helpful in understanding his sick mind, and helping me to mentally detatch: I finally have some proof of a sordid affair from many years ago, and I haven’t told him how I know. Its been very telling watching him deny, deny, deny; observing his mood and behavior while he’s denying something I have proof of. It’s given me a window into his behavior. When I see how cool and matter of fact he is it sickens me. Now I can see how he’s pulled of this charade for 20 years (maybe more, but I don’t care).

      • I hope you can leave, It’sAJourney. There’s no hope for a guy like that. And you deserve better.

        • I plan on filing for divorce right after Easter; it’s the last big holiday for a while, kids are out of school, and my oldest son will be moving in with me while his apartment is being painted. Worries about the future of my family and finances give me cold feet; I pray for wisdom and guidance, and strength to follow through!

      • There is power in knowing they are lying, but they don’t know you know. I could only hold onto it a couple of days before I would bust. Keep it in your pocket. On some level, they feel the change in barometric pressure, but they can’t say anything cause the cats not out of the bag. It’s a small consolation, but it helps. When you are being deceived by someone who was supposed to love you, and they do not respond to accountability, you can at least be the smarter one.

    • I have loved reading the above comments.

      I so wanted answers after D’day and was made to feel as though I was violating the poor cheaters civil rights. But I did become very retrospective.
      After sitting and reflecting on our marriage I realised just how unstable it had been and how much I was willing to shoulder, forgive, support and blame myself for. But then I began to understand just how fucked up the cheater really is. That’s when I worked out that the Cheater had held as few as 20 jobs within as many years. He was fired from at least half of those. Threated is co workers like his subordinates. Much like he treated his family. The biggest laugh was months before d’day the cheater had the balls to apply to be my boss and run the office I worked in because my boss was retiring and he just happened to be unemployed at the time, again. I think he did it because he was jelous of my loving my job and my work conditions. Thankfully those doing the hiring saw through him.
      And as they say the rest is history.

      Also in reference to earlier comments. I suffered serious illness while married to him. Both emotional and physical. One of the worst symptoms was not being able to walk without pain. That condition went soon after d’day and this year I began playing soccer.
      I would say to anyone out there who is concerned that due to their health they may not be able to cope with kicking their cheater to the curb. Living with the stress of sharing your life with these dysfunctional types is far worse.

    • My X too. Very intelligent and extremely talented and very good at his job, but can’t seem to hold down a job. Been through at least a dozen jobs in the last 15 years, 5 or 6 when we were together the last decade, and each time, it’s NEVER his fault. Military kicked him out, in other jobs someone is always “gunning for him” . It’s because his attitude is “it’s not my fault”. So yeah, now he’s going the self-employment route from a business he created 6 years ago, that makes NO money to date, and actually costs him. It’s really a hobby that gives him lots of ego kibbles( fire-breathing……oooh….. ahhhh….), but he can’t stand working for other people, because , well…. you know why…..

      • wait a minute, just having a chance to read this post and most comments…. wait a minute! too many of you have mentioned that cheaters aren’t stable at their jobs, that was totally my experience! I wonder if that’s just coincidence or if there’s something else to it?

  • Just Wondering,

    Listen to CL. I spent almost 30 years of my life with someone who thinks like your husband – ME, ME, ME, I. What an opera and one with only that chorus. I can’t tell you that it will get any better – in fact, it will get worse over time. The best indication of this is his response – no remorse, no accountability, no taking responsibility; just breast beating, bleating and blame shifting. That’s how his mind operates – it’s not what I do that is out of order, your response to it is all wrong. You just don’t understand what a sensitive, tortured soul he is. He is so confused and you pressuring him not to be an asshole is just causing him more confusion and pressure which causes him to . . . You’re getting the picture.

    This is so eerily familiar to what I lived through it is like looking through a glass door and seeing what I didn’t and couldn’t see when first I embarked on my relationship with the STBX. CL is telling you to divorce him because she knows and we know this isn’t some aberration. Do you want me to tell you how this will ultimately turn out if you don’t divorce him? You will spend your life with him doing most of the heavy lifting. You will be doing all of the grunt work with the children while he picks and chooses in what he partciipates. He has already tried to set you up to believe that YOUR behavior controls whether or not he cheats, so you will spend too much of your time tip-toeing around him and being afraid to step out of line in order to keep him from cheating and to keep him vested in you and the marriage. You will constantly be trying to keep up with and satisfy his list of “needs” and/or “wants” which you won’t be able to do because they will be forever increasing and/or changing. Your feelings, needs and wants will become smaller and smaller until they cease to exist, even for you. You won’t even be able to recall ever having any. Then one day your children will be older, as will you, or out of the house where child support is no longer an issue, and he will leave you for some short-term or long-term OW – telling you he was never happy and he loves you but he’s not in love with you or some such nonsense and that it was all your fault because you never gave him what he wanted or needed.

    Do yourself and your children a favor and divorce this eternal teenager doing a poor impersonation of an adult. You are young enough where you will eventually find someone who will value what you have to offer and who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Any time spent trying to salvage anything worthwhile out of a relationship with this baboon would be time better spent cleaning dirt from between your toes. This is not only who he is, but unfortunately, unless he has a brain, personality and character transplant, this is who he is always going to be.

    Hugs to you Just Wondering. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

    • JW
      Please listen to CL and read and reread Chump Princess’ comment. CP, you described my life to a tee. Crazy how cheaters are all the same but we don’t have to “live” like that and we don’t deserve to live like that.

      • ^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^ I too stayed for 19rs, after finding proof of affairs when pregnant and , again with toddlers at home. C Princess is spot on!!!!

    • Chump Princess,

      I know your response was for JW, but as I was reading I was crying. Thank you for your comment. And big thanks as always to Chump Lady, you are spot on. I am a physical/emotional/financial abuse survivor with four little ones. Your stories are the same as mine, just substitute ‘ow’ for other ‘oi’ (other interests), where the chump is just a resource, maid, sex slave, caretaker etc….Character disorder can have many flavors but generally same ‘character’, and hell attached to it.

      5 months out after 11 years of ‘marriage’. Feels good to realize and settle in my mind that I was ‘de facto’ never married, just a single parent with a male sociopath parasite sucking life out of me. I might be going through ‘the surgery’ now, but it is better than living with this ‘festering disease’. I can’t wait for November to file – the final cut! The wounds hurt but will heal, scars will be there as a reminder of what we’ve been through and survived. But my kids and I will recover and move on. My two daughters can be still proud of me rather than have a bad role model, and my sons by God’s grace will see the difference between a man-child and a real man by the way I raise them and hopefully provide some good role models through friends or even a good partner.

      Lots of hugs and respect to everyone here.

    • Chump Princess – my life too. We’d been married 36 years when he went. About a month before he confessed to some sexual encounters, not full sex, so he said, but who knows, and who else was there. I believe that he only confessed to those because he thought that they were the ones who would tell me when they found out. One of them did. As time went on I did everything for him which enabled him to work long hours and be flexible if it was needed, work was a bit cyclical, which was probably good, as he brought in a good salary and has a good pension. But it also meant that if ever he wanted to go out, go away for the weekend, whatever, I just had to carry everything, he made a big thing about all the things he did with his band and in the community, but it was on my back. Heck even before the children when I was working I still had to do most things. The things he did do got less and less, and he tried to put them onto me too. I believe that if he could have he would have sent me to the dentist on his behalf, or the hairdressers. He let the house go to rack and ruin, wouldn’t let me get people in to do jobs that needed doing and made such a fuss when our son tried to help. And then when he went he bleated on about how I never retrained to do a well paid job when the children got older, and when I did go back to work it was part time. When I did he never took on anything extra at weekends, it still got worse. It does mean that being on my own I am used to doing everything. Now he is gone, it is his brother that he is leaving to do everything to do with their elderly parents’ estate, as they have both recently died. Am uncomfortable with the term codependency too, as it really does seem to be victim blaming. While I have always been happy to pull my weight, no way did I want to be pulling his as well, but if I didn’t I got such grief that it was easier to just comply. those judged to be codependent often do not have the choice
      He never liked me going off and doing things for myself, some which were sort of work related he would tolerate, but he was not happy for me to go and see my parents on my own, so I rarely saw them, if there was a parental visit on the cards it was usually to his , it was often only just a few days at Christmastime, which he moaned about, sometimes a few days over easter. I’m making up for that now, trying to go approx every couple of months, who knows how long I have left to do that. Having said he tolerated work related travel, I have a memory of him ringing me when I was in Frankfurt, he was staying at his parents and had gone out to a dance on his bike and got a puncture, and he was pissed off and wanted me to know all about it. Most normal people would have said sod it and got a taxi, but somehow it was my fault or something. I could not do much at weekends if he was around and not doing something else so if possible I tried to do things during the week, which he didn’t like, but everyone should have the chance to do something fun
      It’s too late now to retrain for something high paying and happily my lawyer says that it is unreasonable that I should subsidise him with his good salary by working a second low paid part time job, I am coming up to retirement age, and not in the most robust health, and after years of neglect I will have my work cut out for a few years getting the house into some sort of reasonable order.

    • DeeL, Sasanka, outoftheblue and Uniquelyme,

      I am sending out virtual hugs to all of you and to CN. No one should give their best and their all to another person and have it thrown back in their face and be told it isn’t enough – particularly by people who wouldn’t recognize reciprocity if it was wearing a lion’s head and bit them in the ass.

      That’s why this is such a great place and group of people. So many of us spent our lives with our cheaters questioning our own good judgment, ignoring our intuition and not having our feelings and reality validated. All of these “Aha” moments that we share here are fountains of validation for dry and thirsty travelers on the long road to sanity and healing.

  • Perfect response, CL! Succinct and to the point, you didn’t even have to unravel anything–simple and clear—DIVORCE HIM, JW.

    You have primary custody of those kids, along with the responsibilities—and he is out DATING? Hey, I’m all for finding someone to cry with AFTER you separate, and it is mutually agreed upon that the marriage is not going to be saved, and the lawyers have been hired/papers filed. Go for it. If you can get somebody to help you through that, you must be fucking amazing.

    Your husband is not cutting you loose because you are still the back-up kibble source. You are also a money pit in his mind. He knows he is NEVER going to get you to go back to the chumpy chump you were when you didn’t know—but he CERTAINLY doesn’t want you to make him pay when he’s not getting kibbles from you and the kids.

    He is doing what my XH did when we were separated once before, early in our marriage–before kids. He had it all planned out in his head that since he had attained what he’d wanted out of me (a free and easy educational experience instead of ramen noodles and orange crate furniture)—he was entitled to go along his merry way without further encumbrance.

    He came home from work with a book on “How To Get Divorced Without A Lawyer”. Handed it to me, saying that all of the forms are in there, and since we’ve just spent our last $$$ on rent and our lease is to be renewed the following month—this is THE LOGICAL TIME TO DIVORCE.

    I told him to shove it up his ass and I filed for divorce a week later.

    Unfortunately for me—I took him back 3 months later after he saw that “out there”, women want dinner and drinks and conversation and trips (he was in line to make a boatload of money from that nice education I helped him attain)—and he just couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to throw themselves on their back, rip off their clothes and say “TAKE ME, STUD!!!”

    So he begged to come home. I stupidly took him back.

    DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE, JW. He wants the cheap way out—he doesn’t want to pay for you and your kids—and he simply would rather that you evaporate. Believe me. He couldn’t care less what is happening to you and to those kids. Bring the full force of the court down on this fuckwad and don’t look back.

    Good luck to you!!

    • Absolutely, SphinxMoth. Those side pieces are a cheap, easy fuck. It’s hard to get that much value in a real dating relationship for so little effort. Plus, most of them are probably pretty scary in the light of day. Glad you got free of your loser.

    • “He wants the cheap way out—he doesn’t want to pay for you and your kids—and he simply would rather that you evaporate. Believe me. He couldn’t care less what is happening to you and to those kids.”

      When I first realised this it gutted me just after D’Day. To realise that my ex over the years had pushed me emotionally so far, that had I been of lesser substance I could have easily taken my own life leaving him the ultimate cover story was overwhelming. It was at the same time by talking to a trained professional I realised I had been subjected to unrepentant emotional abuse. Even now that my divorce is final he still wants to play the mind games in the hope that I will just cave in or just walk.
      I am so grateful for every one who shares their story here at CN as it has helped me to understand I am not alone.
      And I am very thankful for that.

      • I too was suicidal during the latter part of our relationship.

        My ex-wife’s method was neglect.

        Like you realized, I too realized that would have made a great cover story for her. The aggrieved widow. Something always not quite right with Tony. Eventual shrugs all around.

  • Divorce him.

    You don’t even have the Timid Forest Creature to work with. Instead, you have a man who cheated on you through two pregnancies and moved out before the birth of his third child. You say he’s not remorseful, and that he is still in contact with the OW–or at least one of them.

    Right now, you need to Trust that He Sucks because he really and truly does.

    Look, we’ve all been where you are now. We want to think that our spouses are really Good People, but that there was some kind of trigger that pushed them over the edge to betray us and our families. It is very hard for us to accept that we were bamboozled. However, we were bamboozled because we assume that other people share our values with respect to family, love, trust, and honesty.

    When I first learned of STBX’s affair, I wanted to chalk it up to combination of work stress plus switching medications for his blood pressure when his combo beta-blocker stopped working for him. The OW is predatory, and tends to go for men who are in stronger financial positions. STBX likes to see himself as the White Knight.

    I knew that I did not want to be married to a man who had “Have an Affair” as a stress management tool, but since Dday, I’ve come to accept that He Sucks. He chose to be who he is, but he lies to himself and to others by pretending he cares about morals, virtues, God, etc.

    Listen to Chump Nation. Talk to a lawyer. Find out your rights. Line up your ducks, and divorce him.

    You and your children deserve better.

  • Thank you chump lady for your quick reply and to you all for commenting. I already knew what I had to do but being the chump I am just needed confirmation written bluntly in black and white. I have made an appointment to speak to a lawyer. I am in the UK so laws are different over here.

    If you guys knew the full story you really would let loose on my stbx!
    He said so many awful things to me following D day, once I was on the floor weeping, 6 months pregnant and he said to me ‘what’s wrong with you? Just remember that nobody died’

    You guys hit the nail on the head, it’s all about him, after D day there were at least 4 occasions where he ended up in tears and I somehow wound up comforting him! I remember thinking ‘hold on?!! This isn’t right! You cheated on me, where’s MY comfort?’

    The irony of it all? Before i met him, I was a self sufficient independent woman who swore she would never rely on a man – I had lots of skills and a masters degree. Fast forward and here I am today being out of work for 5 years while I raised the kids and my last job was working for his company! He always complained that I was ‘too independent’ and liked to do things myself – well that was because I didn’t want to end up in this exact position, reliant on him. But that’s life. I did it before and can do it again – even with 3 kids. I’m 34 – that’s still youngish right!???!!

      • What I would give to be 34 again. Thirties are awesome! You have a bunch of kids, and that can be draining, or fufilling, either way, life is not over.

    • JW, I am 63 and was chomped last year by a guy I had known forever. You can start again, but this time with more knowledge and a healthier foundation. And most likely he’s cheating because you are indeed strong and independent and therefore might see who he really is.

      • Okay, guys & gals, here’s a list of why life doesn’t end at 34, or 50 or 60:

        Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first Little House on the Prairie book at 60
        Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence at 70 (and did a lot after that to forge a new country)
        At 75, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa
        Julia Child started her series, “The French Chef” at 51
        Roget’s Thesaurus was first published when Roget was 73
        Gandhi walked 200 miles in a quest for Indian Independence when he was 61

        One step at a time. We can all be mighty.

        • And Mandela had been in prison for many years. He didn’t come out of there and say that life was over…

          • At 40 I switched into a different subspecialty of my work..smack dab in the middle of husbands cheating and toxic meanness. When I was about 43 I did something innovative at work and at about 47 I made an educational video about it and (at least in my corner of the universe) it sort of changed the world. Kick ass, chumps !!

    • JW! Sweetheart, you are young as hell and have your whole life in front of you….if you just Kick.The.Cheater. To. The. Curb.

      I know it’s hard, but I would give my eye teeth if I could go back to be your age again, and kick my ex out then–when my children were young, when I was young. Instead I thought everything was fine, I waited 12 more years, following which my ex abandoned me AND our 3 children. They will always deceive, betray and abandon you in the end. And actually they never stop. Then one day even after we stick by them they go “poof” and move on while calmly stepping over your prostrate body. Even so, at 52, I moved on, rebuilt my life, and am happily remarried. But I would love to have kicked him out waaaaaay sooner, because my biggest source of continuing anger is how many years were wasted on that fucktard.

      JW, put your shoulders back, and march forward one step at a time. We here at Chump Nation are giving you (((hugs))) all the way.

    • Well done with contacting that Solicitor JW and yes you are so young. 34 is nothing! I think if you can prove any of this happening you can file Adultery or Unreasonable behaviour in the UK. Talk with the solicitor and they will give you more details. Also speak with them about everything that has happen. They will help you out. There is some interesting things going on with divorce law in the UK and it can benefit you in the long run. The ex also said the same things about me being so independent but you are still very independent and believe in yourself. You are a strong woman and look at the new life that is about to start for you and your wonderful children. Much love to you and the children. This is an great decision for yourself and your children. I wish you the best of luck and I’ll keep you in my prayers!

      • I’m in the UK too, and I went with adultery. What you have to watch is that if it is 6 months after you discovered it, you are sort of judged to have accepted it, but if he does it again that 6 months starts again. If husband would not accept that I would have gone for unreasonable behaviour. Well he would not sign that he had done it, and in fact had been doing it for 7 months but his solicitor admitted it for him, and he did in the end, I think he was worried about what unreasonable behaviour I would bring up, and gosh didn’t I have a smorgasbord of options to chose from. Many solicitors offer an initial free appointment, so try and get some recommendations. Make a will, I used a solicitor and was glad I did as she made sure that I put a bit in saying that I was leaving nothing to him as he had left me, just so he could claim that I must have just forgotten to leave everything to him, I also severed the tenancy of the house, previously it had been in joint names
        I found a couple of cheap downloads which were helpful, an e book on divorce by marilyn stowe a family lawyer http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/ 99p!
        And the wealthy divorcee http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Wealthy-Divorcee-Step-By-Step-Navigating/dp/1909623091
        not that I will be wealthy, but it is very helpful looking at all the finances, things there I would not have thought about

    • You will get your badass self back once you shed this guy bringing you down! And I can relate to this: “after D day there were at least 4 occasions where he ended up in tears and I somehow wound up comforting him!” I actually found myself comforting him when he was lamenting how hurt the OW would be when he told her he couldn’t see her anymore. Afterward I was like “what the fuck? how in the world did I feel sorry for him?”

      Go Jedi Ninja on his sorry ass! Do not tell him what you are doing until you have your shit together. sending you Jedi Hugs!

    • Just Wondering–I’m no expert on UK divorce laws, but if I remember from what another Chump posted about a year ago, the UK puts you in the limbo land of separation UNLESS you cite adultery. Before you let him know you plan to divorce him, see a solicitor about what you need in order to speed up the divorce process. You may need to chat with a couple of solicitors. One question is whether it’s in your best overall interest to go through the normal no-fault (or whatever it’s called there) option or to cite a cause. Of course, the fact that he’s been out of the house since June 2014 might factor into the separation, but your solicitor can give you the specifics.

      I would not let him know what you’re up to until you are ready to set the legal machinery in motion. You need to ensure that your assets are protected by whatever mechanism the UK legal system has. You do not want him hiding the money in his accounts!

      • Yeah it looks like I can either wait out the two year seperation period or cite adultery. If I wait then it will be another year, but not sure what would be needed to prove the adultery, Will see what the lawyer says

        On the topic of red flags, one thing I noticed was how he would always tell small lies for no reason! For example, when he first started hiring employees, one of them left after the first day, he told everyone he fired her. I remember thinking why lie about that??! I guess it made him look better??

        • He gets a letter asking him to confirm adultery, back up position is unreasonable behaviour, you will I’m sure be able to think of plenty of that. My solicitor wrote to him that if he did not confirm his adultery we would go with unreasonable behaviour.
          That does away with need for 2 year separation, which you can only use if you both agree, and if he is an awkward sod he might long that out, it is 5 years without agreement of both parties.

        • My cheating ex also lied about little things. What he had for lunch, where he bought a shirt… And more serious, big lies too. I realize now is that he got a THRILL out of lying and having people believe his lies! He enjoyed the act of deceit – perhaps he got a rush from the power of it. These narcissists are sooooo disordered!

        • Oh yes the small lies that make no sense, I attributed it to his childhood issues, no I think small lies to your SO for no good reason are a huge red flag now. FWIW my BFFs spouse did the same thing, they are now split due to really big lies, not cheating but still big lies. And really at bottom, it is betrayal.

        • Mine lied a lot too about nothing. No reason for it, but I used to call him out on it, not on purpose to shame him, but to correct him. He hated it. But I’m not a liar. I just couldn’t see how he could do that!

    • That smart, independent woman is still there. Go invest in her. You are SOOooO young! I was a single mom at 34 myself. My kid is nearly 18 now — and he turned out fine. Your kids will be fine too with you as their sane, stable, together mom. Lose the loser. See that lawyer!

    • Just Wondering–pick up a copy of Robin Stern’s “The Gaslight Effect” to understand how your jerk was able to turn you from a strong, independent woman to a sad, depressed one within a few years. (We can all relate.)

  • SphinxMoth writes, “You are also a money pit in his mind. He knows he is NEVER going to get you to go back to the chumpy chump you were when you didn’t know—but he CERTAINLY doesn’t want you to make him pay when he’s not getting kibbles from you and the kids.”

    JW, your kinds-sorta husband doesn’t want to pay child support. That is indeed a state-ordered money pit in which he will participate until your youngest is 18. He will hang on to “marriage,” which in his terms is “living apart from JW and the kids, dating, and determining what I feel like giving her.” He wants to date? The price of that should be divorce, division of assets, and child support. You need a pit-bull attorney to get the resources you will need to raise those precious kids to adulthood. All chumps should remember: cheaters fear child support for a reason. The courts don’t always do the right thing, but trying for support beats living on cheater’s whims from week to week. You might also take a look at the thread from yesterday or the day before about the dancing king who doesn’t want to pay child support and is still whining about his sad life to a woman he abandoned when she was pregnant. Divorce him legally, for sure, but also divorce him in your mind. Cut the cord and gain you life.

    • LAJ, (raising my hand here), financial decisions in the best marriages are successful because you both have input (and shared goals). I trustingly relied on my STBX to do the right thing, to be fair in our marriage and then in our marital settlement agreement, but what everyone here should know is that Cheaters don’t play fair. They have whole lives and secrets and purchases apart from you (and family) and time gives them an opportunity to hide money or dissipate assets. JW has a better financial future away from a Cheater than with one.

  • According to your timeline, your husband’s affairs considerably predate the failing of his business, so pinning the blame on his job doesn’t hold up.

    Perhaps if your husband had spent all the time, money and energy he spent on cheating into building his business or finding a job, he might’ve been successful!

    Your husband reminds me of John, the cheating husband in the film Sex, Lies and Videotape, who is fired from his firm for frequently blowing off clients and cancelling meetings to hook up with his mistress.

  • My life is stressful.

    So I engage in one activity guaranteed to make it more stressful: cheating.

    That’ll fix things!

    • I got so stressed out from work that on the way home I knocked over a liquor store.

      I am drinking a fifth of E&J right now!

  • I think there is a section on “Invisible Forces” in the cheater’s handbook. This section teaches them to attribute all lousy behavior to “stress,” “God,” and “Family of Origin issues.” When one fails, they are instructed to shift to another or add another.

    Then they give you crap for believing in the visible–receipts, on-line profiles, debts, etc. and attack your faithlessness for not crediting their invisible explanations.

    Add to that, our chumpy tendency to believe in unicorns, and we make a lot of unfortunate decisions.

    Believe in the real–the abandonment, the mistress, the unemployment.

  • “Mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted” is right and it is what we are when having to deal with our Cheater’s never ending drama. It is also Cheater mindfuck because Chumps, let’s face it, for the disordered, any. excuse. will. do. And don’t believe for one second that the OW/OM has anything of value. Integrity, character, a personality. Hard to live an authentic life without those. Cheaters love the blame game: You are not perfect, too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, too smart, too dumb, too brunette, too blonde, etc. WTFever, how many hoops do we jump through just so crap somebody will love us? That is not real love, folks. And let’s not forget all those Cheater excuses either. “We have nothing in common; we grew apart; I didn’t want kids, a house, a wife who reads; I love you but I am not in love with you; and you don’t fold my shorts.” Looking back everything we do stresses out our poor Cheaters. Kids, jobs, bills, holidays. They don’t need ANY reason for placing their needs before everybody else’s. Because they will time after time. JW, even when life is not a challenge, Cheaters will cheat. So your decision is about what you want and deserve to have in your life. Life is about putting your whole best self first so you may care for your beautiful children, who deserve a better model of what it is to love and be loved. As to your disordered spouse, You do not have anything to work with. His actions tell you WHO he is.

    • Drew this is so right on. My STBX used so many of these. You read too much, you didn’t sit with me on the couch, sex was boring…

      Those things hurt like hell too. Totally out of the blue. I thought we were happily married and then BOOM! I was treated with contempt and deception and a total lack of respect. How in the hell do we even recover from this kind of cruelty? Because when we let them go, we become free. And gain a life.

      • Aaaaaah the couch!! Our second couch was apparently the cause of him cheating.

        We had one couch for our entire relationship which we would both sit on – we had a second one delivered a month before we DDay. From then on he would insist on sitting on the other couch from me despite repeatedly asking for him to come and sit with me.

        When I found out about the OW it was “because we sit of different sofa’s everynight” – he started cheating a month before we even had two sofa’s

        The crap they come out with is mind boggling.

  • I eventually realized that it didn’t matter what had made my narc ex cheat. Stress? FOO issues? Unclear boundaries? Poor coping? Unhappiness in the marriage? General fucked-up-ed-ness? He had it ALL!

    But he had had all that stuff for years, nay, decades. And done NOTHING to work on any of it. He had seen the pain and damage his ‘issues’ had caused, to me, the kids and even himself. And he DID NOT CARE, at least not enough to do anything about it. (He was happy to have me trying to fix all those things for him, though!)

    So when he cheated for a second time, I came to the following conclusion;

    I want to be with a partner who actually loves me and cares about me, loves and cares about their kids, and acts like that. I want to be with a grown-up, who takes responsibility for their life, their choices, and their commitments.

    And that was clearly not my ex. So the relationship was over. Enough untangling, enough dancing, enough of everything. Just over.

    Sounds like you’re in the same kind of spot, Wondering. Hope you can reach the same conclusion soon.

    • KarenE, “I want to be with a partner who actually loves and cares about me, loves and cares about their kids, and acts like that. I want to be with a grown-up, who takes responsibility for their life, their choices, and their commitments.” ^^^^^^^^THIS!

  • If stress causes cheating, then i should have won the Nobel Peace Prize a few years back when I was really in the thick of it. I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I was concerned about losing my house and everything I had worked for my whole life. I felt trapped and powerless. But honestly, I felt committed to the marriage – because I said I would commit, and that mattered to me. So -Does stress cause cheating? Not in my case. And not in the case of most chumps, I would imagine.

    [Waits patiently for call from Nobel committee]

  • Off the topic above and I’m wondering did anyone have any type of red flags before we married this losers? When the ex and I started dating it was way over 25 years ago and at the time you really didn’t know much about these Personality Disorders such as NPD and such and really even back then taking about any level or mental illness which sometimes is used with these terms was still taboo at the time. I’m wondering now in my case I always thought the ex’s sense of humour was really off really sexually in nature, full of himself, always looking in the mirror, the way he would walk struck me as odd and when he would speak about his friends cheating he would say it was not a good thing at all and he didn’t understand why they did it. I never fully understood what NPD was back then. Yes I heard of the term but really just didn’t bother what it was fully about. Plus at that time we didn’t have the internet to look up things like this and I know chumplady.com wasn’t around then. Did anyone else experience this anytime with the ex’s (male and female)? I’m really wondering if anyone experience anything like this and what did you think?

    • Beth, my ex actually called our wedding off out of the blue when we were engaged. We met in high school and were finishing up our college degrees when we got engaged. One day he was acting kind of strange and then blurted out that he wasn’t sure he wanted to get married. I already had my wedding dress and had ordered invitations, we were about 5-6 months out from the event. I insisted we drive to our pastor’s house and talk to him. I’ll never forget sitting there and listening to the pastor asking my ex if there was someone else. I was so sure there wasn’t that I was shaking my head no, but as I looked over at my ex, he was shaking his head yes. I was floored! I flew home for the weekend and canceled all the wedding plans. My ex came back and begged me to take his ring back, he said he’d just gotten cold feet, etc. He said he loved me and wanted to go through with the wedding after all. He refused to discuss who the “someone else” was. I could kick myself for taking his ring back and not listening to my gut. I was so confused because I loved him, and he seemed genuinely sorry. Turns out “cold feet” was his pattern throughout our 32 year marriage. Back then counseling wasn’t as prevalent, but I sure wish I’d have had the opportunity to go. I’m sure they would have helped helped me sort through the confusion.

      • What a terrible story, so sorry to read it, Lyn.
        The daughter of my friend did the right thing: after living together 7 years (!!), she and her boyfriend organized the wedding, people flew across the planet, the wedding was cancelled the day before due to this kind of discovery. She got married to another a year later and she is now expecting her second child.
        At the time the wedding was cancelled, people took the opportunity to visit the country, she drove family around. She knows now that marrying this guy would have been a big mistake.
        I would have been unable to do this. I would have trusted the guy’s remorse, I would have clinged to any sign of hope, rather than being embarrassed in front of family and friends who traveled from so far away. She has guts. She clearly knew what she was doing and I admire her…

        • Today, now that divorce is more common, the key when these discoveries happen prior to the wedding is the good sense and support of family and friends. Nothing like a dad saying “who cares about the deposits? Kick him (or her) to the curb” to encourage someone to break it off for good. It also suggests a good reason to keep wedding spending at a reasonable level.

      • 2 weeks before our wedding, husband tried to “postpone” the ceremony citing his concern that I “had feelings for” some old boyfriend. I now see that he really didnt want to get married adn I was too stupid/young/optimistic to see the writing on the wall. I was an idiot. He later used his reluctance to marry as an excuse to be a shitty husband.

    • Well I am on month 3 post DDay. My wife was always a bit of a flirt…. but nothing over the top. I cant say there were any true signs back then. It was 25 years ago. So maybe to young and dumb… In Love to notice. It seems that whatever snapped happened in the last five years. Our marriage was stale and not going well…. I admit I suck. She started pushing the envelope and 3 years ago dived right in. Looking back, all the only red flag was her mother. Married multiple times and turns out was prone to affairs. Her mom while in her 40s had a 2o something BF. My wife was angry at her and disgusted. Well wife hit her 40s and hit a 26 year old!!! So I guess the apple doesnt fall to far from the tree after all…….

      • At the 20 year mark, I caught my ex in a lie & he confessed that he was a closet alcoholic/functioning alcoholic. I was stunned & shocked that he had hidden this for a few years. He had been cranky for a month or two before the discovery. He quit drinking immediately & went for therapy. The next 4 years were great & I thanked him everyday for not drinking that day. After 20 years I knew we could get through this.

        Fast forward to dday when I discovered the affair. His spews & accusations towards me were so crazy & bewildering that I asked if was drinking again. He admitted to a sip!!! In hindsight I can see that whatever caused him to drink in access years ago wasn’t properly addressed. Whether he started to secretly drink again & fell for Owhore or started to drink after getting the sparkliness bath, I’ll never know but it is not my problem – I’m trusting that he sucks.

        • I find the “cougar” label discriminatory as an ageist label for women who are no longer young. A cheater is a cheater but not simply because they hooked up with someone younger. I was a chump, not a “cougar”, with my x being significantly younger than me. Our relationship was sixteen years producing a wonderful daughter who’s mother is not and has never been a “cougar”. It seemed like it was working for a while, until I found out his true colors same as everyone else here.
          Sorry, hits a nerve with me when people make a big deal about age. Men have always been able to be with younger women and I realize some people think it odd but the feminist in me at the time of meeting my x did not make age an issue when I felt what I thought at the time was a good connection. I would never judge a relationship on an age difference.

        • Cougar or whatever one wants to call it….. just bad…. a bit hard on the self esteem knowing my 48 year old ass was not good enough… and with age one has limitations in the sex department… 26 hard to compete against!!! That is what I have to get past… knowing dipshit really is not better just she was being a whore.

          • Didn’t mean to divert with getting on my soapbox about “you can’t say anything without offending someone” diatribe. 🙂
            David, whatever jerk your x is/was cheating with is in no way at ALL better because after all they are a cheater, in other words a piece of crap. From what I’ve been reading, sex can be the best of one’s life as one ages because there is much more true intimacy and honesty. People aren’t willing to put up with anything less which is how I feel these days for sure after living with someone who turned out to be a hologram.

    • Beth

      Mine was immature. She was controlling, jealous and manipulative.

      She actually had an entourage of really dorky guys follow her around in college and she would tell me how she would set them against each other.

      She was the oldest sister and she told me how she set her two smaller sisters against each other.

      She made it to where I was so uncomfortable having great female friends that I knew before her that I de-friended them from Facebook.

      She was always reluctant to hang out with my friends and once when I was playing drinking games and having a good time, instead of participating like I asked – and how we once did in college – she sat on a nearby couch with her arms crossed like a petulant child.

      The first times we had sex it was amazing, and she gave me some of the best oral sex I ever had. She then began to gradually withhold sex until we were hardly having any sex.

      When we first had sex I could bring her to orgasm just through sex, but she began to later complain that I could never bring her to orgasm. She would then insist after sex that I bring her to orgasm, but only one time and not multiple times because she did not want to lose control of herself.

      Her dad is a racist, conservative postman that hates the government and complained all of the time about how the government pays its employees too much. He would make his wife sleep on an uncomfortable couch every night. She would work just as hard as him and sometime get home later than him yet she still had to cook every night and he would invariable find something about which to complain.

      He never liked me and was a real shit to me, and I only held my tongue because my ex-wife really loved him and I was in his house and I was too polite. The one time I stood up for myself my wife did not stand up for me and later got on my ass on our drive home.

      I went to a strip club one time during my friend’s wedding as part of his bachelor party and she picked a hell of a fight with me there during the wedding and was still angry about it months later.

      Whenever her mother called just to ask how she was doing a look of disgust would cross her face and she would not answer. When she did deign to communicate with her mother a look of sneering contempt was on her face the whole time even though her voice was normal.

      Her father never called to my recollection.

      A month or two ago I would have been ill writing all of this and beating myself up, but I am about six months post-divorce and I am moving on.

      It helps to know that I am not the only one by reading the posts here so I can forgive myself and hopefully learn to love and trust again in the future.

  • Let me add to the above to this day I never ever thought he would cheat never especially with how he would speak about how he knew his friends would cheat and the way he spoke about it. What was that about? Yes, I would see him flirt and I would laugh it off and didn’t think much about it at all.

    • Beth, even after I caught my ex cheating, during the magical NON reconciliation he would bad mouth people who he thought were cheating, like there was some giant disconnect in his brain…then I realized, in his mind he was special so it was OK for him to do it, not OK for anyone else. This included me of course, how many times did he accuse ME of cheating after he was caught? I lost count and I stopped bothering to deny it or talk about it. All blame shifting bullshit.

    • Beth, yes, there were warning signs. I was 17 and so naive when we first met. My ex and I dated off and on for eight years (red flag #2). We lived apart as we were pursuing college and summer jobs but when I first met him my first response was one of dislike. He pursued me. When he was away at college he was hooked on those 800 numbers and hanging with friends doing questionable things. Visited the whorehouse, hung out with girls clearly interested in him, but I chalked it up to youth. We were both young. But sex never really got better (it was GOOD and I loved it but he grew more and more disengaged over the years…less intimate, less loving. It was hard for me to really let go and enjoy myself, I think because there is a clinical aspect to a Cheater’s make up, positions matter more than their partners. Porn sex. And I can’t do it without kissing.) Public and private displays of affection waned (red flag) as they were present in the love bombing stage. I believe decisions in healthy relationships are made together and while he would ask for my input he would always do whatever he wanted (job relocation and his vasectomy were two I found out after they were already done) and after a while he just stopped making us a priority. So, yes, entitlement issues, and things I don’t even want to know about. I think Cheaters too spend a lot of time “away” from home, away from their spouses and children. Working long hours. Traveling for work. They are away at the fitness club. Participating in hobbies, sports, etc.
      My ex compartmentalized his life. He was evasive. Life moves extremely fast but with a Cheater you always feel off balance. There is little talk of “our future.” He didn’t know what he wanted. Overly concerned with dying. Placed others before us (not spending time with family). He spent a lot of time looking for kibbles ie he would always take us out to eat and then spend the next hour talking to waitstaff while our three children and I ate dinner. He also spent time with sketchy people- unhappily married fitness partners, coworkers who hated women, the people at the club (all divorced now). Looking back I spent a lot of time with my three kids. Not with the guy I married.

      • “I believe decisions in healthy relationships are made together and while he would ask for my input he would always do whatever he wanted (job relocation and his vasectomy were two I found out after they were already done) and after a while he just stopped making us a priority. So, yes, entitlement issues, and things I don’t even want to know about. I think Cheaters too spend a lot of time “away” from home, away from their spouses and children. Working long hours. Traveling for work. They are away at the fitness club. Participating in hobbies, sports, etc.
        My ex compartmentalized his life. He was evasive. Life moves extremely fast but with a Cheater you always feel off balance. There is little talk of “our future.”

        Ditto on this! Sounds exactly like my ex. I used to wonder why we never talked about what we wanted to do after retirement. The reason is that he didn’t plan on me being in the picture during his retirement!

        • Long term marriage with a Cheater. All those signs. My ex’s best friend used to call often and talk with me (we all grew up together), invariably my ex was never home as he was out working or at the racquetball club. Never occurred to me to think he was out cheating…but it did occur to his BF. He even intimated as much.

      • “I believe decisions in healthy relationships are made together and while he would ask for my input he would always do whatever he wanted (job relocation and his vasectomy were two I found out after they were already done) and after a while he just stopped making us a priority. ”

        He would decide what he wanted then reverse engineer an explanation why it was a great idea for me and the kids…he got really good at that until the double life of the affair and he told me “I will not take you or the kids into consideration when I choose what job to take” and he didnt …he moved 3000 miles away.

        I knew our “reconciliation” sucked when he routinely blamed me for the fact that we needed to live where we live…it was a logistic result of his fuckedupness.

        Our last big fight before he died …he had decided to buy a car and I would not agree to it…he browbeat me unmercifully but I wouldn’t budge (and if I didnt agree then he couldnt later blame me for it, so he HAD to get acquiescence from me). He resorted to smashing things and never apologized. He never did buy that car.

        • What is it with new cars and trucks?! My ex purchased more vehicles in our last four years together than in our previous twenty years combined. It’s a great way to fuck over finances, btw. He also purchased a brand new car on his way out for our eldest, in college(hoping to soften the news that he’d left me for his fitness partner), and then a couple years later wanted it back (for his Schmoopie) after dumping the payments and insurance onto our child as well. As another Chump so eloquently states, “You can’t make this shit up!”

    • Ex used to complain about cheaters and wife-leavers. I guess (in hindsight) that he had hidden envy. The biggest clue, from the beginning, was that ‘too good to be true’ thing. He was athletic, smart, popular, respectful, ambitious, nonjudgmental and helpful.
      After his grand narcissistic discard of me (that wife in the shadows of his greatness)… I watched him at an exchange do his cute kibble dance to impress my friend. (How cute: he caught a tarantula by the gutter.) It was all show-off. It was just sick.
      Under his mask, he is lazy, stupid, selfish, rude, stupid, selfish and cruel.
      Sociopaths often have a well developed social side. He certainly did, so no one questioned his judgment when he systemically destroyed my reputation and my life.
      Karma: he is all yours:-)

      • I think we have a hard time believing that anyone who possesses good qualities can make really bad decisions. My ex too was Mr. Sparkles on the outside, soul destroying Narc on the inside. Karma too is that my cheater married his OW. Lol! I don’t miss living like that!

        • Mine’s going to marry his too in April. I don’t miss living like that either. Walking on eggshells all the time, worrying late at night that he would just make it home. Afraid and full of anxiety because I thought he might have gotten in to accident, or picked up by the cops for drinking and driving. When the truck would finally pull in the driveway is when I’d be able to sleep. It wasn’t good. Now I may be “alone” but I have peace.

          • My ex didn’t drink, but he was checked out..for a long time. Probably living his life, making himself happy because he was so miserably married to me. LOL! I think people like that don’t change, or get better for others, they just stay disordered. He’s not going to turn into a great husband, a good friend, or a caring lover. It’s been six years since Dday and the last time I saw him with his new OW he was distancing with her already (and looked like crap). She however is a mouse in public, don’t know what she is like except for the fact she pursued, slept with and married my loser! Oh then her family booted her out of the family business. My kids went to the wedding (he paid, they were all attending different colleges at the time) and they all together ducked out to the hotel’s bar to watch a college game. Said that was the best thing about it.

    • Beth, cheater told me before we got married that the one thing he wouldn’t tolerate was cheating. He had me hook, line and sinker from a trust stand point with that big, upfront LIE. But I had no reason at the time to believe he was anything but sincere. I was 19 and ‘in love’. Next red flag was his complete disinterest in my sexual satisfaction. No intimacy at all from him and when I tried to talk about the issue, he blame shifted by telling me I didn’t enjoy sex so it was me that was the issue. He said that sex wasn’t always about intimacy. Again, at 19, I didn’t know any better. In a way, he was right – I didn’t enjoy his version of sex. Looking back now, I see that from that standpoint, he didn’t treat me any different than any of his whores or prostitutes – it was just about him having sex and nothing more.

    • Beth and Datdamwuf,

      My abuser used to say in the middle of conversation, even remotely connected to family or marriage, that he hated ‘wife-beaters’ and such. I found it odd to talk such stuff to a lady, especially a love interest. It felt so insulting to even insinuate. I was very naive. This was not even something I was familiar with or wondered about…I felt uneasy how he kept bringing this up. In the meantime he showed me glimpses of rage at his mother, and also his dad and brother. When we married, I became the recipient of mugs on the wall, cell phones and keys smashed to the floor inches from me, fist in the face, later shaking, shoving and eventually hitting me twice with forearm to my face full force. Hurt my jaw. I called the police, which was the best decision I ever made till then. After that indirect abuse like reckless driving with me pregnant or a newborn baby etc. It was a huge red flag, but sadly, I did not listen to my instincts.

      • Thank you all for your insights and sharing your experiences with these things you had to deal with. My heart just breaks reading what everyone had to deal with such evil type of people. I do see the ex in every one of your experiences and I’m seeing how terrible these people that have these Personality Disorders are. I’m so very sorry for all the pain that they have caused us all. I’m not an expert in this but I am a chump and a very big chump myself. Even with the many years that have pasted since the divorce from the serial cheater I call an ex has been and it’s still very painful. Over the past few years I have been reading many things about these Personality Disorders and how dark these people can be and how they treat so many of us and others. With the help of this site and being able to ask these questions and reading the daily post from Chump Lady it does help to place the pieces of my big puzzle together. No one should have to experience such pain and abuse. My heart goes out to everyone that has and is dealing with such darkness. I hope I can one day fully understand what happen and I will be able to let it go and fully heal. I still have a lot of questions but this site is helping me. Thank you again for your insight and sharing what you had to experience. I hope we all are able to move on to a better life without these terrible sick people. *hugs* to all.

  • Dear JW, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I agree with everything CL said in her reply to you. The only thing I would add is to do the best you can to build support networks around you before pulling the trigger. In my own situation I took a few months to talk to a pastor and join a church. also I told several friends and family members what was going on. A good friend offered to let me live with her for a year which really helped. Luckily I had credit cards in my own name and a good credit history. You’ll need all the support you can get.

  • He started cheating in 2012, and his business didn’t fall apart until 2013. Stress made him cheat? I think not. Dump him before you spend another decade in misery. Hugs to you; this isn’t easy.

  • CL says these folks have three types of emotion, pity, rage and charm… but it seems to me that pity is their go-to mode…my Xh loved to be pathetic… loved to not do anything because it was all too overwhelming for his famous scientist brain. I ended up wanting to scream… Man-Up, just Man-up…never happened… So glad I never have to go through this again.

    JW, stay strong… get rid of him… he is a life vampire and the life he wants to suck is yours and your kids.

    • ringin, yet again my ex proves himself the clone of mine. The man was a walking pity party, and until very recently was STILL trying to win me back by a focus on how miserable HE was. Sigh, they’re so unoriginal.

      • Well, I clearly can’t type, but I figure you know I mean ‘my ex proves himself the clone of YOURS’.

  • Well if stress causes one to screw around, I should be doing it multiple times daily! Not much can stress someone like having their spouse screw around on them!!!

    • Lol! DavidB! Being cheated on is soul destroying and totally fucked but your great sense of humor will save and help you to move forward. Broken hearts are pretty painful though. 🙁

      • Yes it is a destructive force. One spends 25 years with someone….. has two kids… and the other person throws it all away! For cheap sex? Not even a relationship where she was or thought she was in love….. humor is all I got….. and two good kids!

  • The same old spackling…no it wasn’t the stress that made him fall on the OW and his penis just accidentally find itself …in there.

    He did it because he wanted to, and because he didn’t give a toss what you thought. His business probably went down the tubes because he was busy elsewhere.

    I am as guilty as anyone of spackling, but this is just so clear what must happen. You need to convince yourself that you all will be better off without the constant gut-nag of wondering where your childrens’ father is. File asap. He was, sadly, just a sperm donor.

    It doesn’t matter what he does from now on, as long as it’s far away from you.

  • Isn’t one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction “stress”?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “No way it was stress”.

  • ” He says he is still suffering the effects of this which is why he doesn’t know what to do to save our marriage.”

    He is still having an affair and is keeping you on a string as his “insurance policy”.

    Kick him to the curb.

  • I agree, ken_doll, saving a marriage/relationship is never on a Cheater’s mind as I don’t believe others needs are ever on their radar. My friend says they are like ping pong balls in the ocean bouncing from one wave to the next. It’s why they are so unaffected by it. JW, you know we have amazing Chumps. The women and men here have been through it. We have loved with our whole sweet trusting Chumpy hearts only to discover we had nothing to work with. Ourselves, yes. A cheating spouse, NO.

  • Just Wondering, please stop wondering. There is nothing to wonder about. Your husband’s actions speak so loudly that I’m getting deaf just by reading your letter. He.does.not.love.you. Nor does he value, respect and cherish you. I’m sorry that sounds harsh but sometimes we need to hear the truth. BUT, and this is important, the fact that he doesn’t love, value, respect or cherish you has absolutely nothing to do with you. All that is on him and his absolute lack of character. Time to get rid of him. Reclaim your worth.

    You’re spackling and I know you know that. Please don’t do that to yourself and your children. You’ll just dig a bigger hole. Please get out now and give yourself and your children a chance to create a loving and peaceful family.

  • Just Wondering-Lots of great advice here today. Just remember the following:
    1. When their lips are moving, they’re lying
    2. If they cry, they are not crying because they hurt you; it’s because they just realized that this is going to cost them money; whether it be child support, alimony or half of their 401K. Don’t get caught up in their fake tears and please don’t let it suck you into what will most certainly be a false reconciliation.

    There is a saying that goes something like this: “Sometimes giving someone a second chance is like giving them another bullet because they missed you the first time.” I was sucked into false reconciliation and all it did was help the asshat figure out what the reasons would be for his next affair. That’s generally the fate of reconciling with a cheater- another dday.

    There may be folks out there that successfully reconcile but they are the exception-NOT the rule. Raising 3 kids alone will be hard but it sounds like you were already doing that anyway. You’re very young. You are sort of lucky in that you didn’t waste more than a couple of decades with a coward and a cheater. You are mighty!

    Sending Jedi hugs your way.

  • It’s a pretty simple mathematical problem. If “stress = acceptable to cheat,” and chance of “never again stress in life = 0,” then “prognosis for cheater-free future = grave.’

  • Regarding the comments on here about physical appearance, I would like to say that in Real Life I am an extremely nice person and do not judge people by their appearance or make nasty comments about people. It really doesn’t matter to me.

    However, after the cheating I got some very nasty comments directed at me, from the cheaters, about pretty much everything about me. Physical, mental, emotional, i imagine most of us have similar experiences. So yes, I make comments I wouldn’t ordinarily make in real life on here. And lots of times, it’s helpful to hear about the physical characteristics of a person because it shapes behaviour a lot of the time for some folks. Remember, beauty is skin deep, and ugly is to the bone. Most, hell all, cheaters are ugly to the bone.

  • I’m sure it’s been said before, but let me repeat/pile on.

    NOTHING MAKES another person cheat. Cheating is how they choose to respond to their circumstances.

    Consider this, this guy wasn’t the only one under stress. She was caring for two children with another on the way. What about that stress? Did that stress “make” her cheat?

    No.

    So it’s not the stress, or the lack of sex, or anything other than bad character and bad boundaries that enables someone to choose to cheat.

    • 1965, you are right! 🙂 cheaters choose the behavior. Sometimes my friends and I are like, How do you even begin cheating on someone you are married to!?!?!?

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